My Blogging Essentials

I have been blogging for over a year now , so I thought it was about time that I share some of my blogging essentials. My essentials have changed over time, but the basic elements have always stayed the same...

Camera: For the first six months of blogging, I used my phone. The quality of pictures were awful so I knew I needed a proper camera. I settled on the Nikon J1 and I'm really happy I did. It's a great little camera that produces very decent pictures. It's also the camera I use for filming my YouTube videos. I probably will upgrade my camera at some point but it's perfect if you're just starting out or if you have a small budget.

Laptop: You don't need a laptop for blogging, you can do it easily on your phone or a tablet. But I always prefer writing my posts on my laptop. I don't like the Blogger app and just finding writing from my laptop much easier.

Notebooks: I have loads of notebooks, I find them so useful. They are incredibly handy for housing all of your ideas and lists. I find it much more therapeutic to actually write things down, and I tend to remember things more.

Google Drive: I love organising things and google drive is perfect for just that. I keep my blog planner, my YouTube planner, my calendar, some notes, pretty much everything to do with Chasing Ruby Chat on my google drive. It's so handy because I can access it from my phone, laptop or anywhere really! The only limit really is space but that kind of forces me to simplify everything and declutter everything from time to time.

Lights: I recently invested in a set of artificial lights because from about September to March, it's very difficult here in Ireland to get good natural daylight to take pictures. I use the Glamcor lights and while they are pricey, I paid about €250 for mine, they are in my opinion worth it. I can take pictures and film videos at any hour of the day now.

PicMonkey: I use the free version of Picmonkey to edit all of my photos. I think it is an incredibly handy tool. There is so much you can do with it and it's completely free. Good photos are essential for any blog in my opinion and using Picmonkey is so simple and you can create beautiful pictures from it.

Backgrounds & Blu Tack: This is something I still struggle with, but feel I'm getting much better at. I use everything from wallpaper and trays to big sparkly handbags. Blu Tack is essential if you're taking photos of a product or multiple products that aren't flat. The amount of times I used to try and take photos of mascaras or eyeliner, only to have them roll away just as I pressed click on the camera. Enter blu tack, a small amount will go a long way and save you lots of frustration.

Social Media: In order to grow my blog, social media has been absolutely essential. Some of my favourite apps are Tweetdeck, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter. I love them all for different reasons and might do a separate post on them altogether.

So there you have it, my blogging essentials! What are your blogging essentials? 

Erin X
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L'oreal Skin Perfecting 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil Review

I had been on the hunt for a really good affordable cleansing oil for a while. So when I seen the L'oreal Skin Perfecting 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil on offer in Boots for only €6.99 I picked it up right away. I absolutely love cleansing oils to remove my makeup. I find it's the quickest and easiest method. 

L'oreal Skin Perfecting 15 Second Miracle Cleansing Oil is a light and fruity scented oil that comes in a pump bottle. Which is ideal for convenience and hygiene. It's also perfect for travelling with, I actually depotted some of the oil into a travel bottle and brought it with me to Berlin last month.

So you know the drill by now, pump a few drops into your hand, message it onto your dry face, emulsify it with a drop of water and wipe everything away with a clean damp facial cloth. Very easy and very quick!

I've used this oil to remove both barely there (as in the scraps of makeup left on my face after a 14 hour day) and a full face of makeup with waterproof gel eyeliner after a night out. After both scenarios my face is squeaky clean after the 15 second miracle oil.

My thoughts overall? I love this oil, it's very affordable as it's almost always on offer in Boots. I like the fruity scent, I don't find it too overwhelming. I love how soft my skin feels after using it. I'm a big fan of how quick and easy it is to remove ALL of my makeup with this oil. I love that it has a pump, it makes life super easy. It never feels greasy and there's never any residue. I will definitely repurchase this time and time again.

Have you tried the cleansing oil?

Erin X
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Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Review

One of the most popular products from Elizabeth Arden is the Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules. To be perfectly honest with you, I had never heard of them before I attended the Elite Munster Blogger Event, where we all received about eight capsules to try. I had never ventured into high end skincare, as I've never had the budget to do so.  I was very interested to try them as we'd heard amazing things about them at the event...

Elizabeth Arden claims that these capsules to the following...

  • Immediately smoothes and revitalizes the look of skin.
  • Visibly improves skin tone and clarity.
  • Supports skin's natural collagen for a firmer look.
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Gives you skin that’s noticeably softer and smoother.
  • Reduces roughness and dryness.
  • Enhances your skin hydration for a fresh and balanced feel.

I have to say I completely agree with them all, except the fine lines are wrinkles reduction, as I'm only 21 and didn't have any to begin with so I wouldn't notice if there was a difference. On application, they feel like they are going to be greasy and sit on top of your skin. Give it just a few moments and they absorb into your skin perfectly. It is supposed to be suitable for all skin types too. I love using these capsules because my skin always feels amazingly soft after using them. I usually use them at night and there is never any residue the next morning. I have also applied it just before doing my makeup and I have to say it makes my makeup look much nicer. My skin tone evens out and the makeup glides on. 

The serum inside the capsules are fragrance, alcohol and preservative free, which is very interesting because most skincare products need preservatives in it to make sure that it doesn't go bad once you open it. I think it's possibly because you only use one capsule per application. So if you normally react with fragranced products, this may be something to look into. 

At first I found it quite difficult to open, but the trick is to twist the top of it and it'll pop off so you can squeeze out the serum. One capsule will cover the entire face and neck. There is 30 capsules in each pod. I use maybe 2-3 capsules per week so while they are expensive, they will last for months! I was lucky enough that my friend watched this favourites video and seen my raving about them and how sad I was that I only had a few capsules left. She actually bought me the full pod for my birthday so I was and am so happy and grateful because it'd probably one of my favourite skincare products ever! 

One thing I do want to note as well, it is compatible with any other skincare range, not just Elizabeth Arden skincare. This is brilliant because you can still use more affordable skincare and use the capsules as a treat. I have seen a massive difference in my skin since I started using these. My skin is clearer and fresher looking. 

I really cannot recommend these ceramide capsules enough! I will 100% be purchasing these when I run out. The retail at a whopping €85 from but if you are trying to invest in skincare, then definitely check these out. As far as I'm aware you can actually ask for a few samples in store and try them out before splashing out on them. Also if you're a student or know a student, you can get 10% off all Elizabeth Arden goods in  all Shaws department stores.

Have you tried these capsules before? What are your favourite oils/serums in your skincare routine ?

Erin X
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Holos Anti Ageing Facial Oil Review

Hi Everyone!

My first review of 2016! I thought I'd start with skincare as that's a big focus for me this year. With the Winter weather being so cold and damaging to the skin, I thought I'd introduce you to my little secret for keeping my skin hydrated and repaired throughout the Winter months. Introducing the Anti Ageing Facial Oil by Holos...

Holos are an amazing award winning Irish brand owned by the fabulous Niamh. I have heard her speak about the backstory of Holos and it really is very inspiring. I have met her a few times in person and take part in her weekly Twitter blogger chat #holoslovesbloggers which is held every Monday evening at 9pm, as much as I can.

 While I am only 21 and don't need to worry about fine lines and wrinkles for a few more years, I'm a firm believer in prevention is better than cure and for that reason, I like incorporating anti ageing products in my skincare routine. I also notice a major difference in my skin when I use oils. This facial oil has amazing ingredients like argan oil, rose, palmerosa, benzoin and frankincense.

I use this oil 2-3 times a week as it's all my skin needs. Every single time I use it, I notice a massive difference in the texture of my skin. It makes it so incredibly soft. The facial oil itself is quite thin but I do feel like it takes quite a while to sink into my skin. I definitely still have some residue left over the next morning. I have no problem with that though as it does such an amazing job at keeping my skin hydrated.

The oil itself comes in a lovely little bottle and you take the oil out via a dropper. I think this is a brilliant because you only need a few drops to cover your face and using the dropper makes it so easy, there's no mess at all. To apply it to your face, you simply put a few drops into your hands and message it into your skin. I use this after my moisturiser and it's the very last step in my routine.

The facial oil retails at €22.50, which I think is a great price considering some facial oils that give you the same results can cost over €100. It can be purchased in numerous pharmacies around Ireland and online from HERE on . I definitely recommend trying it out if you're looking for a new facial oil or if you suffer from dry skin.

Do you use facial oils in your skincare routine? What's your favourite?

Erin X
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Surround Yourself with Positive People and Tell The Rest Get Lost!

Hi Everyone!

Today I have my first collaboration of 2016. Fellow blogger Rebelle Haze from Rebelle-ution . I wanted Priscilla to write some advice for all of my lovely readers because I have found her blog so incredibly helpful. It has helped me find some confidence that was lacking and some self belief in myself. I find her to be truly inspiring and I hope her advice today helps some of you, I'm sure it will as it's helped me understand a few things and look at certain situations in my life differently!

In this life we are surrounded by an abundance of people, they are everywhere! Some people are a joy to be around, they are kind, supportive and engaging. They make you feel better about who you are to the very core. Then there are other types of people. These people are an effort to say the very least of it. When they text or call you immediately roll your eyes or your gut twists because you'd just rather not deal with them.
I have heard a thousand times the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people. It's only natural, when you are in the company of positive people they have the ability to make you feel more positive about yourself and all that you can achieve. Positive people are generally more productive and creative and can inspire the same in you. Nobody ever really talks about what you do about the not so positive people in your life though. Perhaps it's an Irish thing? We are a particularly polite nation of people, to a fault. The only thing worse than rudeness to an Irish person is meanness.
While reading Lena Dunham's Book "Not That Kind of Girl" I came across a quote that jumped off the page and shook me.

"When someone shows you how little to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself"

The effectiveness of this quote was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that an object of my affection had been playing the age old hot and cold game for a week. Suddenly it hit me, by continually responding to texts and getting in contact with this person I was giving them full permission to carry on treating me this way. Why wouldn't they? There was no repercussion for their bad behaviour, they received the reward of my company regardless of their behaviour. As a result I began to reduce my own value without even noticing. The expectation that I should be treated as well as I treat others went right out the window because I had a crush on this person.
So I gave myself a stern talking to, reminded myself that there are heaps of crush-worthy individuals out there who are worthy of my attention and affections and who would reciprocate without needing to resort to petty games or control tactics. Of course it didn't stop there, I started to recall all of the relationships I've had romantic, personal and professional where I have allowed others to treat me badly and made excuses for them. Of course this sapped my energy and made me work harder at a dynamic that only sought to make me feel worse about myself, intentional or otherwise.
It needs to be said I am a nurturer by nature (there's a psychology joke in there somewhere). It's why I do what I do. I like to help people, I like to see people happy, motivated and being all they can be. Life is too friggin short to be any other way. This little light bulb moment of mine has made me realise not everyone deserves my help and encouragement, especially if it takes more from me than the gift I intend to give. So I challenged myself to look at all of my relationships everything from family to facebook friends, to not only pick out the wonderful people in my life but to weed out those who do not contribute as much as I do to our relationship.
Here is how I did it:
1. Examine your relationships!
Some questions I asked myself before cutting contact with people are:
- Has this person actually done something wrong or am I taking their words/actions to heart when I shouldn’t?
- Is there something going on behind the scenes that may be affecting our relationship (something real, not drama queen fodder)?
- Is this an issue we can work out together?
- Can I trust him/her to keep my best interests at heart?
- Does he/she respect me (and vice versa)?
- Do I really think he/she gets a kick out of making me feel bad?
- How do I feel about myself when connecting with him/her?
- What does he/she contribute to my life that I would be lost without?
Think about how long you’ve known this person, what they might be dealing with internally. If all else fails you can't beat the old fashioned pros and cons list to help you decide. It might sound harsh but it is very telling if the cons list exceeds the pros or you struggle to find pros.
2.Go with your gut!!
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Even on days when you’re not feeling your best, you know more than anyone what will make you feel better and what’s niggling you in the first place. If you feel like someone is toxic to your well-being, that’s enough. You will know, you won't even need a list your gut will tell you. Whether you are exhausted when they leave or you feel sick to your stomach when you know they are going to be in your company. You don’t have to tell anyone your reasons for not wanting to be associated with someone. All the justification in the world will not change that, in the same way that someone who is seemingly perfect in every way still isn’t the one for you if there is no chemistry. You don’t owe anyone anything, and you deserve to have peace of mind and a positive environment devoid of people who bring you down, deliberately or otherwise.
3.Block, Unfriend and Unfollow.
Social media can be a serious friggin pain. It’s far too easy to passive aggressively say whatever you want and then say, “Oh no, that totally wasn’t about you! I’m sooo sorry you thought that!”
Back to  number 2: Trust your gut. Do you feel like something was aimed at you? Regardless of whether it was, do you feel like the fact that it might be is personally affecting you? Guess what -- real friends won’t make you feel that way. Ever!
The block and unfriend feature exists for a reason. Use it. Even if the issues you have with the person you’re cutting out aren’t social-media related, it’s not worth the annoyance of seeing something that person posts. Facebook, especially, is passive-aggression heaven. Blocking fixes that easily.
Also? When you’re done, you’re done. You made the decision to make your life better, and you turned that decision into an  action. So don’t snoop around and ask how that person is doing, what they’re up to, etc. It doesn't concern you anymore, you have your own life to be getting on with.
If this person is someone you really can't unfriend because it would be more hassle than it's worth then hide their posts from their news feed and hide the amount of information they are privvy to. You are limiting contact in a way that still keeps you safe.
4. Confide in the people closest to you…but be prepared to lose other friends in the process.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I mean, you’re allowed to talk about it. Letting go of a relationship, even a bad one, is painful. Talk to people you love and trust if the process is difficult for you. They will support you and your decision.
Also keep in mind that you might see some unfriending, unfollowing, etc. that you might not expect. That’s obviously a very surface-level depiction, but other people will drop off the face of the earth (or, as I like to think of it, move over and make room for better relationships). Don't worry about this one too much, if a person cannot respect your right to happiness they have spared you the job of letting them go or cutting them out at a later stage.
5.No Bitching.
It might be hard at first, but do your best to separate the character of the person you’re cutting out from why you’re cutting them out of your life. Honestly, even painful people have positive attributes , and bad-mouthing them or insulting their character is going to get you nowhere except back into a negative state of mind that cutting the person out was supposed to help free you from in the first place. Name-calling, eye-rolling, gossiping, etc. defeats that purpose. Just nod politely if the person is mentioned. Remember that you’re taking care of yourself first and foremost, and that is what matters.
So there you have it loves, it's a new year, let's make it a positive one!


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A Fresh Start

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year! I am hoping that 2016 will be a very happy year indeed. 2015 for me was a very testing year. It was a year filled with highs and lows but to be perfectly honest, I feel like it was constantly low with a few high points. I went through a lot and it's only now after reflecting that I can see what was causing me to have such low lows and what caused me to have great highs. I am doing my best to make sure that this year is filled with much more highs and I'm trying to distance myself from things that caused me to be miserable.

I am definitely someone who loves a fresh start and the new year is perfect timing. I loved looking back at the past year. It has shown me how much things can change in a year. I've grown so much and learned a lot. I've learned a lot about myself and how strong I actually am (as cringey as that sounds). I've been through a hell of a lot and to still be able to come out of the year still fighting and still optimistic for a better future, shows real strength I think.

I know a lot of people don't make goals, but I do. I think it's healthy to be ambitious and to set goals. I sat down on new years eve and wrote out some goals for myself and I am going to do everything in my power to make them all happen. The vary between personal goals, work goals, blogging goals etc. But if all goes to plan then I'm set to have a wonderful year. I am both excited and absolutely terrified for the year ahead, but I think that's a good thing. As they say, if your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough.

I hope you all have a fabulous year. I'd love to hear what 2015 was like for you and what plans you have in store for 2016!

Erin X

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