Why It’s OKAY To Take A Blogging Break…

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A few months ago, the thought of taking a short break from blogging left me riddled with guilt. For over two years I’ve poured my heart and soul into rolling up my sleeves to scribe (what I hope are) engaging blog posts, edit creatively styled photographs & have spent countless hours banging an impatient fist on my desk at the painstaking task of video editing – trust me my poor hand has came off so much worse than my videos usually did *sigh*

However a few weeks ago I was faced with the dilemma of either taking a short-term blogging break or running myself into some sort form of breakdown… considering I’ve already more grey hairs than I can shake a Garnier bottle at I decided on an extended blog holiday instead! So I slipped myself into the background to get a whole host of things tied up, rearranged, planned and not to mention the ongoing health battles that are forever a pain in my existence. Little did I know I was slowly but surely burning myself out… in fact, it TOOK a blogging break for me to realise just how much I pressure I was putting on myself without even realising it.

As much as I initially wandered the floors with a cloud of guilt looming over my head, after a few days I loosened up and slowly began to busy myself with all the things that have been cluttering up my to do list. One thing I will say, is that although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my blogging break I have reeeeeally missed my online community of blog buddies. It’s great to be back but for anyone who’s currently mulling over the prospect of a blogging break here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t hold back or let guilt deny you a virtual jolly hol…

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1) Time to simmer your creative juices.

Regardless of how much of a super-human blogger you may seem, just like any mere mortal we’re not pre-programmed with an abundant flow of creativity. Writers block and running out of steam can end up making your blog lack it’s orignal sparkle. So if you feel you’re losing your mojo then it’s time to step away for the keyboard until you’re ready to bedazzle your audience once again!

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2) Get some life order.

Like a bazillion other bloggers out there I can’t just spend my days glued to the laptop screen conjuring up my next batch of posts – as much as I’d want to of course! I’m a mum, a wife, I have family commitments, my health etc etc. We ALL have ‘stuff’ outside of the virtual realms – a vacay really helps to focus on getting that other ‘stuff’ done without the pangs of guilt from not hitting the ‘publish’ button. It also enabled ME to see the busiest external areas in my life and work my blogging around my other commitments.

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3) Helps reassess your blog path.

Hmm, this sounds a little deep, however, it’s true. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been really assessing where I want to go with my blog and what I want to do with it. Right now I’m in the throws of organising a mass of stuff for Liquid Glamour, planning for college refresher courses next year, as well as testing a variety of new products I’ve been sent. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE blogging but I feel it needs to reflect & tie in with exactly where I am in life at the moment. People change, evolve, move on etc. I adore Confetti & Curves dearly but my blogging break helped me consider important things like rebranding and how to move forward with content that’s a little more relevant to my present circumstances.

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4) Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Just because you step away from your blog for a while doesn’t mean you stop thinking about it all together, in fact, for me, it had the completely opposite effect. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to wondering if indeed it was getting any views, comments or if it had just disappeared into the blogosphere with a stat count emptier that a chocolate advent calendar on boxing day. I’ve built such great friendships throughout my blogging journey – it’s amazing just how much you miss the community and what a great feel it is stepping back into the arena from a short break. There’s nothing that warms the heart more that the ‘Welcome Back!!’ messages when logging on for a chat – it’s food for the soul!

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5) YOU time.

It’s so easy to forget the one thing that makes a blog the thriving little corner of the internet that it is – YOU. You take a break from school, work and even just a holiday from life in general so why not the same for your blog? Blogging can be bizarrely addictive but if we’re not careful it’s easy to get sucked into a routine of churning out post-after-post. A break from blogging & social media can be just as refreshing as a holiday itself and can really help you evaluate if the amount of effort you’re pouring into your blog works with your lifestyle. Thankfully for me, blogging is simply a hobby – it’s not a means of income or a full time job. However, IF that was the case my uniform would probably be a pair of pj’s and slipper socks… now there’s a life goal to aim for hehe 😉

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Have you thought about taking a blogging break? Maybe it’s something you’ve done in the past? Are you a blogger that often feels guilty about taking time away from your blog? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below.

Ps: Oh and one last thing – GEE I’VE MISSED YOU GUYS!!! 😀 

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Cheerio Chums…

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Contouring with L’Oreal Infallible Sculpt…

I should point out that by absolutely NO means whatsoever am I an expert at contouring; in fact I barely even scratch the title of novice, so as you can well imagine my skills are utterly limited when it comes to dabbing my complexion in swooshes of colour. Heck, I’m just about getting the hang of a one colour foundation!! However when I showcased this sassy little kit from L’Oreal in a recent Boots haul (which you can check out by *clicking here*) quite a few of you were intrigued to learn a little more about it… cue today’s upload *woo hoo*

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What L’Oreal say:

“Sculpt and define your features with shadow and light, with our cream to powder Contouring Palette.

The lighter shade is designed to lift and highlight the high-points of your face, whilst the darker shade creates the illusion of shadow, to sculpt the look of your face to perfection.

Our innovative cream to powder technology is easy to apply and super blendable. Your sculpted finish looks true-to-skin, with a flawless matte finish.”

(Taken from Boots website – to check it for yourself out just *Click Here*)

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Admittedly, I’d absolutely no idea what to expect, however what I didn’t realise just how handy this chicly packaged kit would turn out to be… and for a contouring ‘first timer’ like myself, I need all the help I can get when it comes to popping the contouring cherry *ooo errr*

So if like me you’re a total beginner, nervous novice or just eager to have a good nosey at my multicoloured shenanigans, then get yourself comfy and press play as this cute little kit just might surprise you as much as it’s surprised me.

Don’t forget: *Click Here* to subscribe to the Confetti & Curves YouTube channel so you never miss an upload!

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Have you tried the L’Oreal Infallible Sculpt? Are you a contouring pro or novice just like me? What’s your favourite products to contour with? Whatever your thought’s I’d love to read them in the comments below so do stop by for a quick chatter 🙂

Cheerio Chums…

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Creating Silky Smooth Curls…

You gals should all know by know just how much I adore testing new hair appliances! Heck, in almost every video my hair’s been styled in an eclectic mix ranging from soft beachy waves to poker straight & partially plated. However, there’s little I love more than a head full of gorgeous springy curls… cue my latest investment: Remington’s Silk Curling Wand.

Being a bit of a novice when it comes to odd shaped wands & their newly acclaimed features (yes, I’m a bit of an old school gal using my rather ancient clamp style curlers) I was super intrigued to find out just how much technology has advanced since I last purchased a curling tool… not to mention the vast choice of styling tools that’s now available to beautify our tresses in an instant! However with my own hair being shoulder length at the moment I had to rope in an extra special little helper (who has much longer locks than I do) to really put this appliance through it’s paces 😉

So if like me you’re a fan of fabulous bouncy curls then maybe you should grab your cuppa and take a few minutes to check out this weeks first impressions video to see how I got to grips with the Remington Silk Curler!

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Are you a fan of sumptuous curls or do you prefer super straight locks? Have you any personal recommendations for achieving the ultimate spiral spring or loose beachy wave? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below so do stop by and say a quick hello 🙂

Cheerio chums…

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Electric Hair Straightening Brush: Update + FAQ’s…

Every once in a while an exciting new product hits the interwebs & literally sweeps us of our virtual feet with curiosity… well, this certainly seemed the case when I purchased this unusual looking gadget:

electric hair straightening brush review

Yep, it’s the Electric Hair Straightening Brush. Of course, little did I know that within a space of a few months my initial first impressions video (which you can *Click Here* to watch) would be racing towards 400000 views!!!!!!!! I know, I know… I’m probably just as gob-smacked as you are reading this 😮

Yet whether you love or loathe the concept of such an appliance, there’s no denying it’s caused quite a mighty stir. Naturally with such a high volume of views came a heap of questions – along with many of you eager to know if I still use it & if it really was worth the hype. So as promised (and well overdue I may add) today’s chatter is basically revisiting my thoughts on the Electric Hair Straightening Brush along with (attempting) to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about it.

Ready to find out if I’ve ditched my hair straighteners for the new kid on the block? Then make yourself comfy & click the play button!

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Have you tried the Electric Hair Straightening Brush? Has it been something you’ve been considering treating yourself too? Or are does your loyalties still lie with your beloved straight plates? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below so do stop by and say a quick hello 🙂

Cheerio chums…

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10 Must-Read Books For Makeup Addicts & Beauty Bloggers…

10 must read beauty-books

There’s nothing I like better than to close the laptop, curl myself up in a ball on the sofa, sip on a hot chocolate and read a great book… especially if it’s teaching me top tips on how to look and feel as yummy as I can be! *yippee*  There’s something so cosy about these chilly winter evenings that make it the perfect opportunity to lock the doors, close the curtains and settle down in front of a roaring fire to catch up on some must-read beauty gossip. So for the little bookworms amongst us I’ve whittled down 10 awesome beauty books that will have you page-turning at every opportunity…

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Dita Von Teese: Your Beauty Mark

Your Beauty Mark

From burlesque show to fashion runway, magazine cover to Internet video, style icon and “burlesque superheroine” (Vanity Fair) Dita Von Teese has undergone more strokes of red lipstick, bursts of hair spray, boxes of blue-black hair dye, and pats of powder in a month than a drag queen could dream of in a lifetime. Whether she’s dazzling audiences while swirling in a towering martini glass in Swarovski-crystal-covered pasties and stilettos or sparking camera flashes on the red carpet, one reality is constant: for this self-styled star, beauty is an art.

Now, for the first time in her Technicolor career, Dita divulges the beauty wisdom that keeps her on international best-dressed lists and high-profile fashion show rosters. In Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, Dita and collaborator Rose Apodaca take you through every step of Dita’s glamour arsenal, and includes her confidantes—masters in makeup, hair, medicine, and exercise, as well as some of the world’s most eccentric beauties—for authoritative advice. Packed with sound nutrition and exercise guidance, skin care and scent insight, as well as accessible techniques for creating bombshell hairstyles and makeup looks and more, this inspiring resource shares the skills, history, and lessons you need to enhance your individual gifts and realize your own beauty mark.

Currently on offer for £12 on Amazon – *click here* to treat yourself!

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Lisa Potter Dixon: Easy On The Eyes

Easy On The Eyes

Starting with the basics, Lisa teaches you how to prep, prime and perfect your base before transforming your look with shadows, liner and all thats in between. She helps you to create the perfect brows to frame the eyes following step-by-step photographs. Whether you’re looking for a fun and youthful or elegant and sophisticated look, Lisa will show you how to make the most of your eyes, with hints and tips to suit all eye shapes, colours and styles.

As well as discovering how to do the perfect smokey eye, a classic flick and graphic liner looks, Lisa shows you how to achieve that 1920s chic, dazzle with glitter and make the most of colour, proving that it really is the eyes that have it. While features on make-up bag essentials, what to use when you’re caught short, how to take your make-up look from desk to dance floor and a behind-the-scenes look at the London Fashion Week Matthew Williamson show.

Each look can be completed in 5, 15 or 30 minutes, so no matter what your style, how much time you have to get ready, or what equipment you have to hand, you can go from now to WOW! in no time.

*Click here to find out more*

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Lisa Eldridge: Facepaint The Story of Makeup

Facepaint

Makeup, as we know it, has only been commercially available in the last 100 years, but applying decoration to the face and body may be one of the oldest global social practices. In Face Paint, Lisa Eldridge reveals the entire history of the art form, from Egyptian and Classical times up through the Victorian age and golden era of Hollywood, and also surveys the cutting-edge makeup science of today and tomorrow. Face Paint explores the practical and idiosyncratic reasons behind makeup’s use, the actual materials employed over generations, and the glamorous icons that people emulate and how they achieved their effects. An engaging history of style, it is also a social history of women and the ways in which we can understand their lives through the prism and impact of makeup.

*Click here to find out more*

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Academy of Freelance Makeup: Makeup Is Art

Makeup Is Art

Years of professional makeup styling is distilled into a gorgeous yet practical book on the art of makeup from one of the world’s best beauty-training institutes, the Academy of Freelance Makeup. In this updated second edition of the book, the team of top industry professionals offer additional expert advice, tips, insider secrets and instructions for specialist techniques for the novice or professional makeup artist. From creating period looks to using glitter and crystals to body-art and airbrushing techniques, the book is inspirational and informative.

*Click here to find out more*

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Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual

 Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual

Bobbi Brown’s twenty-five-plus years of makeup styling experience distilled into one complete, gorgeous book. Bobbi looks at everything from skincare basics to every aspect of facial makeup – from how to find the right colour and type of foundation for any skin tone to how to apply every detail of eye makeup (brows, eyeliner, eye shadow and eyelashes) no matter the eye colour and shape. Of course there are never-before-seen tips on blush, bronzer, lip liners, lipstick and more. And Bobbi looks beyond the face with informative chapters on head-to-toe beauty and the science of skin.

*Click here to find out more* 

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Michelle Phan Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success–Online and Off

 Michelle-Phan-Makeup

Michelle Phan has believed in makeup since the first time she was allowed to try eyeliner. When she looked in the mirror and saw a transformed version of herself looking back, she fell in love with the sense of confidence that makeup could give her.  Ever since she posted her first makeup tutorial on YouTube, she has dedicated herself to inspire millions by using makeup as a tool for transformation and self expression.

Now, Michelle has compiled all of her best wisdom into Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success–Online and Off. From creating a gorgeous smoky eye to understanding contouring to developing an online persona, Michelle has advice to help you transform every facet of your life. Make Up is packed with Michelle’s trademark beauty and style tutorials,  stories and pictures from her own life, and advice on the topics she is asked about most, including etiquette, career, entrepreneurship, and creativity. From the everyday (such as how to get glowing skin) to the big picture (such as how to turn your passion into a profession), Make Up is a practical and empowering resource to help anyone put their best face forward.

*Click here to find out more* 

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Karen Gilbert: Natural Beauty

Natural Beauty

Packed with pampering recipes to create your own beauty essentials for face, body, and hair. Most of us use a huge variety of beauty products on our skin and hair every day – from shower gel and shampoo to moisturizer and hand cream – but the majority of these products contain a variety of chemicals. In Natural Beauty, natural skincare and fragrance expert Karen Gilbert shows you how to make your own lotions and potions at home, using readily available, natural ingredients and easy-to-follow methods. For the face, there are moisturizers, masks and cleansers; for the body choose from scrubs and shower gels, soaps and body lotions. And when you need some extra-special pampering, try the recipes for lip balms, massage bars, bath oils and eye gels. So try your hand at making a neroli hydrating spritz or a macadamia and jojoba moisturizer, a mango and lime body butter or lemon and tea tree foot balm, bergamot and grapefruit wake-up wash or cocoa butter lip balm – the hardest part is choosing which of the pampering projects to try first! Each recipe has clear step-by-step photographs to guide you, and there are numerous variations to try.

*Click here to find out more*

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Fleur De Force: The Glam Guide 

The Glam Guide

Fleur De Force started making YouTube videos in 2009 out of a passion for everything beauty and fashion related. What began as a fun hobby quickly turned into something much bigger, and she’s spent the past five years seeking out the best products, top tips and easiest ways for us all to look and feel more fabulous. In The Glam Guide she shares all of her secrets and discoveries so whether you’re looking for makeup tips, wardrobe cheats, first-date pointers or healthy lifestyle motivation, this is the book for you.

*Click here to find out more*

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Esme Floyd: 1001 Little Beauty Miracles, Secrets and Solutions from Head to Toe

 1001 Little Beauty Miracles

These top-to-toe tips will help you make small changes to your beauty regime that reap big benefits, both in the way you look and how you feel. With direct remedies for beauty problems as well as advice on everything from getting perfectly groomed nails to battling cellulite, “1001 Little Beauty Miracles” offers short, simple ways to improve and maintain your natural good looks. Impress your friends with your knowledge of sensationally simple ways to get gorgeous fast. Even if you are an ungroomed, nail-biting, hair-yanking, exercise phobic, these corner-cutting ideas will set you on the path to looking your finest with the minimum of fuss.

*Click here to find out more*

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Jemma Kidd: Make-up Master Class

Jemma Kidd

Millions of women throughout the world wear make-up, but few of them have been taught how to apply it.’ This is what inspired leading international make-up artist Jemma Kidd’s vision for her make-up school, product line and this book –which aims to teach a new generation of women how to use the latest and best formulations and technique. Jemma Kidd Make-up is a glamorous, contemporary and yet timeless make-up book that demystifies the art of make-up and shows every woman how to enhance her best features and feel confident in her appearance, whatever her age or lifestyle. Lavishly photographed and designed, it offers expert advice in an accessible and digestible way: informative text is broken down into bite-size chunks, with quotes, top tips, insider secrets and practical step-by-step instructions. With more than ten years’ experience of working in the beauty industry, Jemma shares her professional know-how and explains her fail-safe techniques for maximizing natural beauty. While sharing insights into her life as a make-up artist, with a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the preparation that goes on before a catwalk show or a magazine shoot, Jemma explains how she works with the latest fashion trends to creates new looks and colour schemes, and shows how these sometimes extreme looks can be adapted and toned down for everyday wear. With this ebook edition of Jemma Kidd Make-Up, you can approach the day feeling good and looking great, whatever it might hold.

*Click here to find out more*

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Well hopefully that little lot should keep you busy for the next few weeks!

What great books have you been burying your head in recently? Have you read any of the above? Do let me know in the comments below, we love a good book chatter here on Confetti & Curves!

Cheerio Chums…

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Optimize Your Images & Increase Your Blog Traffic…

Optimizing Blog Images

On one of my recent blog-tip features: 10 Tips On Growing Your Blog Audience, quite a few readers expressed a keen interest to learn more about the benefits of optimizing images to boost blog traffic, and not being one to disappoint that’s exactly what we’re focusing on in today’s post! So go grab your notepads as this could be rather useful ladies 😉

Now although I’m by nooooo means a techie; during my own blog journey I’ve learnt a few valuable lessons that have really helped me grow Confetti & Curves. Getting to grips with properly optimizing my images has been a lesson that has certainly yielded pretty successful results to date. So for those who may be newbies at blogging, who aren’t the most fluent in computer lingo or self acclaimed SEO wizards – but are curious on how to reap the benefits from your blog images, then this just might be right up your street…

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Although search engines perform like highly intelligant well-oiled machines, they can’t recognise an image visually like you and I can, therefore they need words in place of pretty pixels to uncover what’s been searched for. So when a cosmetic craver takes to an online oracle (such as Google) and types a series of words into the search bar e.g ‘Maybelline Colour Show Nail Polish in Pink Party Dress’, the search engine will filter out exactly what ‘key words & tags’ it has successfully picked up on with those words or phrases attached to the images that have been optimized.

Therefore, as a blogger with a keen interest on driving more traffic to your online haven, the more detailed YOU are when it comes to entering a description to your images the more likely a search engine is to pick it up = voila, your image is found by the user who clicks on the source to redirect straight to your blog. Mission accomplished!

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Thankfully WordPress have made it super easy-peasy for us mere mortals who haven’t the first clue about coding or any of that important guff. When uploading a picture from your computer hard drive, you’ll notice a nifty little ‘Attachment Details’ box to the right hand side of the media library as shown below…

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As you can see there’s a number of fields in which you can enter text. Confused what goes where? Here’s a quick run through…

URL: This is where the image is stored on your WordPress Site.

Title: This is simply as it suggests, the title of your image. If uploading from a camera you may notice a series of letters/numbers. Be sure to replace with an actual description eg. change DSC00001 to something more descriptive such as ‘Red Chanel Lipstick shade 444 Gabrielle’.

Caption: This is where you can add text to show beneath your image e.g ‘My Favourite Red Lipstick’.

Alt Text: This is text that search engines will more than likely pick up on & will also show if the image is slow in uploading. This is where you need to enter your key words/description e.g ‘Red Lipstick, Chanel 444 Gabrielle’.

Attachment Display Settings… 

Alignment: Allows you to choose the format in which you want your image to be positioned.

Link To: This controls where a reader is taken to when they click on your image. Media File opens the file in it’s own tab. Attachment Page opens the image on its own page in your site. Custom URL allows you to set a specific page where you’d like your reader to be redirected too on your site. None means the image is unclickable.

Size: Allows you to control what size you’d like to display your image, from full size to thumbnail.

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Personally I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in volume of traffic since really putting the effort into making sure my images are properly tagged and search engine ready. By looking at you stats page you’ll soon begin to notice the increased referrals coming from the likes of Google images etc. Here’s a quick example of a few recent posts below that still manage to get new traffic on a daily basis thanks to savvy tagging & Alt Text…

Example 1: Maybelline Colour Show Nail Polish in Pink Party Dress

Maybel Example edited

This particular feature (above) was posted back in September. Just a few months later it’s already top of the image search, even above Superdrug’s own catalogue image which is directly below. Not bad for adding a few extra words into a box chums 😉

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Example 2: NYC Shine In A Minute in Prince Street

NYC Example edit

This feature (above) was only posted a few weeks ago and already it’s top of the search results & images. The power of good search engine terms really does make a significant difference when it comes to boosting you up right up those rankings!

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Are you tagging or lagging when it comes to making your images search engine friendly? Do you have any top tips for boosting blog traffic through images? Is this something you’ll be adding to your uploading routine? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below, so do stop by & say a quick hello 🙂

Cheerio Chums…

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Keeping Up With Karen…

Keeping Up With Karen

Happy Sunday Chummies…

It’s been a horrendously busy week here for me, so to recharge my zapped-out batteries I’ve done absolutely nothing this weekend other than procrastinate, drink tea & write… it’s been delicious in every sense. It’s also given me an unusual opportunity to catch up on things I rarely get a chance to do; such as revelling in a YouTube marathon, organising my nail polish collection & tackling those little jobs around the house that never-ever seem to get done! Have you done anything exciting this weekend or like myself has it been laid back & lovely?

Anyway for those of you who fancy a quick catch up, here’s a little recap of what’s been happening over the last few days here on Confetti & Curves…

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The Make-Up Menu: Perfectly Plum 

Plum Makeup

Who doesn’t love a good smothering of plum coloured cosmetic goodies this time of year? If you’re as mad about beautiful berry tones & plum shades as I am then take a peek at this assortment of fall fancies

Behind The Blog featuring So Dora

Oh So Dora

This weeks Behind The Blog kicks of with the gorgeous Dora from So Dora… a sassy beauty, fashion & lifestyle blog that’s simply packed full of fun filled features and pretty postings. She’s super friendly and a hugely talented blogger, so if you haven’t done so already get yourself over and say a big hello! She’s adorable 🙂

My Make-Up Empties 

Makeup Empties

My little basket of potential ‘Stash or Trash’ items is under intense scrutiny as I prepare to show you guys the good, the bad & the ugly of what I’ve been using over this past few weeks!!

Behind The Blog featuring Organic By Nerve

Organic By Nerve

Yet another fabulously talented blogger to grace the sofa of sassiness this week as I’m joined by the beautiful Corinne for a quick behind the scenes chat of her incredible little corner of the interweb! Packed full of awesome features & must read musings, Corinnes blog is a must-read virtual haven… Ps: Be sure to check out her 22 Beauty Hacks Everyone Should Know post – it is fantastic!!

Fizzy Berry Nails
Blackberry Coloured Nails
I finish the week by sharing one of my favourite polish combos of the season! If your idea of the perfect autumnal nail is a deep blackcurrant colour topped with a sprinkling of eye catching glitter then you’ll love this polish partnership!

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As always, thank y’all so very much for the abundance of support, comments, re-tweets, shares, likes & just darn right loveliness. You lot really are an awesome bunch. Do feel free to pop a favourite link from your blog in the comments below for the rest of us to check out otherwise don’t forget to say a quick hello!

Cheerio Chums…

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