27 Feb 2018

Being an "Honest" Blogger

Are bloggers honest? | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Are bloggers honest? | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

What does an honest blogger look like?

Honesty is something I value in a blogger, but it's also something I think about a lot. How do you define an honest blogger? Is it someone who lays their soul bare, telling you about every inch of their lives in great detail? Is it someone who doesn't gloss over the shitty bits of their day, shows you life behind the flatlay and tells you when things aren't going quite so well?

No, I don't think that's really it. I don't think you have to tell your audience every little thing about you to be an "honest" blogger. You can be honest and only show what you want to show. Your platform is exactly that - your platform - to do with as you see fit. I share a lot of my life online, but there are some things that I just don't publicise. I like to keep some things private, does that make me dishonest? Get ready, there's an incoherent ramble coming...

As much as a value my privacy, I do also value my integrity, and I like to think that shows. I'll always disclose my partnerships because I am proud to be offered the chance to work with businesses and brands I admire. I'll happily tell you when I've been paid to create a post, again out of pride in my abilities to grow my blog to a point where I will be paid by brands. I spend hours of my life creating content for you to indulge in for free - so why shouldn't I make some pocket money for that? After eight years of pouring blood, sweat and tears into turning this blog into something that brings joy to not just me, but other people too, I think it's allowed.

If you follow me on Twitter, you will quite likely see me ranting about bloggers who don't disclose their affiliate links, in between ponderings on the latest book I'm reading or what I fancy for my tea. I have very strong feelings about this, but even I slip up sometimes. I've forgotten to add the disclosure to my tweets or to the bottom of a blog post, I'm only human. It is all too easy to forget when adding affiliate links is second nature, but I don't think forgetting makes me dishonest, either.

20 Feb 2018

The Ultimate "Lazy Girl Chic" Wardrobe Essential

How to style leather trousers casual outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
How to style leather trousers casual outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
How to style leather trousers casual outfit | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Do you ever make up an outfit in your head then get disappointed when it doesn't actually exist?

Yup, me too. Flashback to winter 2016, when I was desperately hunting for the perfect pair of faux leather trousers, which I pictured wearing with a plain white blouse, a sassy leopard print biker jacket and my faithful old trainers. I don't know quite who I thought I was, but I was determined to find this outfit and wear the shit out of it. Lo and behold, though, those leather trousers turned out to be ever the evasive wardrobe essential, and I just couldn't find the pair.

The thing is, I love being comfortable. Like, really comfortable. So I wasn't willing to squeeze myself into a pair of skin-tight leather trews and have my very own Ross Geller moment just for the sake of looking fashionable. At this point, leather trousers on the high street were pretty much limited to super skinny, super tight or super shiny - and that wasn't the look I was going for.

But then, one day, everything changed. Back at the start of last year, I came across a pair of trousers hanging about on ASOS (as per usual). They weren't too shiny, they had an elasticated, paper bag waist for those pizza binges, and most importantly - they were actually comfortable. I've worn them to death over the last year, and so here we are, with an entire blog post dedicated to the joy of these leather trousers.

Outfit Details

Trousers - ASOS (alternatives below!), Top - Monki, Shoes - Office
Bag - Kate Spade (this colour is out of stock - here are some alternatives
Necklaces - Kate Spade & Thomas Sabo (old)


15 Feb 2018

Saying Goodbye to Childhood Friendships

Friendship Breakups | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Friendship Breakups | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

 Friendship, it's a funny old thing.

As a naive teenager, I sincerely thought that the friends I had in school would be the friends I had for life. Like many teenage girls, I had numerous "best friends", with the length of our devoted friendship lasting anything from a few weeks to a few years, until some petty argument got in the way and things fizzled. Throughout this time, however, I had some long-lasting, consistent friendships that have followed me from primary school right through to university. We were set for life, with an unbreakable bond that can only be created by over a decade of friendship.

Or so I thought, anyway.

I realised last year (or maybe the year before that, who knows) that one of these friendships had come to an end. There was no blowout argument, no big betrayal and no emotional parting of the ways - it just stopped. To be honest, it was probably a long time coming, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.


13 Feb 2018

Blog and Beyond

Blogging Tips Resources | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

This Year's Pet Project

I've become increasingly aware of the fact that I often launch things or decide to do things, mention them on Twitter, and leave it at that. It's become a bit of a habit, so I thought I'd sit down and write a quick post to fill you in on some of the things I'm working on for 2018 and beyond. I decided towards the end of last year that I wanted to expand on my blogging tips offering - as a bit of an extension from my newsletter, and as a result, I've ended up with a few new things on the go.

The first and probably most notable thing to mention is the extension of my freelance business, Content by Charlotte, which I've expanded to include some specific services for bloggers focused on helping you build your blog, create better content and get to grips with social media. There are three main packages, which are currently fully booked until the start of April, and there's already a waiting list. I've been overwhelmed with the response to these and the feedback I've had so far has been so kind that it's made me a tad teary-eyed.

Want to grab a slice of the action? Get in touch!

Next up on my list of things to tackle was my blogging tips newsletter, which I was sending out each month and only really promoting on Twitter - oops. My newsletter was originally nameless and didn't really fit in with my brand across my blog or my business anymore, so something had to give. Enter Blog and Beyond, my shiny new newsletter that covers all things blogging... and beyond.

If you want to sign up for this twice-monthly newsletter and get your very own dose of inspiration straight to your inbox on a dreary Monday morning - you can do so here. It's jam-packed full of advice on how to make the most of digital, how to boss your blog and just some general life inspiration too. I'll be sharing my favourite small businesses, brilliant posts from the babes that are bossing blogging and some of my ride or die resources for killing it online. I adore writing it and can't wait to see how it continues to grow each month.

Sign up for Blog and Beyond here

I wanted to turn my newsletter into more of a community and use it to create a platform for discussion beyond my own thoughts and opinions, so I decided that I'd bring the conversation onto social media, too. I love finding new Instagram accounts and, despite the algorithm, it's actually one of my favourite accounts for engagement at the moment - particularly with Instagram stories. It felt natural, really, to start a little hashtag so that I could find some more likeminded folk and look at pretty pictures.

So, #blogandbeyond was born. The name for the hashtag actually came about first, I just realised it would work well for my newsletter too. I wanted to create a place where people could share both the gorgeous flatlays, sassy outfit shots and real-life snapshots too. I love browsing through the hashtag when I'm on Instagram and I've found some amazing accounts as a result! I share some of my favourite snaps each week over on my Instagram stories and I include more brilliant shots in the Blog and Beyond newsletter, too.

Check out the #blogandbeyond hashtag for some photo inspiration here!

And as if that wasn't enough to keep up with already, I decided to give myself even more work and start a Facebook group too. No, I don't know how I manage either. It's a good thing I love what I do, huh?! The Content Crowd is a little community that's all about collaboration and chatting with likeminded bloggers and business owners.

There are daily discussions on everything from taxes to where to buy the best stationery, with plenty of opportunities to share your own stuff and connect with other people too. This is where I tend to give little sneak peeks of upcoming content, get people involved with the newsletter and I have sneaky discounts for my business in there sometimes - if that's your sort of thing.

Come on over and join in the discussion at The Content Crowd

So that's a quick rundown of the little projects I have running alongside Colours and Carousels at the moment, but the fun doesn't stop there. I've got a lot more to come this year (hopefully) and I'm so bloody excited to share it all with you when the time comes.

This is going to be a good year for me, I can feel it.

Want more blogging tips? Head to the Blog and Beyond website or sign up for the newsletter here


8 Feb 2018

Seven Happy Things

Seven Happy Things | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Back to Basics

Sometimes when I write blog posts, I feel like they have to be these epic novellas that cover every single possible point on a subject, and I end up spending entire evenings pouring my heart out on the screen. I love it, but I also love those little "bitty" posts where I just share some nice things that made me smile. I used to share "happy things" on a semi-regular basis but fell away from it for some reason or another.

One of my favourite bloggers, Kirsty from The Monday Project, writes a weekly series where she shares ten things from the last week and I look forward to reading it every single week. It's the kind of post I miss writing, so I thought I'd share a few of the things that have brought a smile to my face recently - without the pressure I put on myself to write well over a thousand words a piece.

1. Business is goooood

I don't think I really talk about my business enough on here, which is something I want to change. If you didn't already know, I launched my freelance digital marketing business - Content by Charlotte - back in October last year, and things are going pretty well so far. I absolutely love the work I do and I get to work with some really excellent people, so it's all good.

At the start of January, I launched my packages for bloggers so that I could do more work with snazzy bloggers and help them figure out how to rock the blogosphere. I was really nervous about launching it (and the Facebook group to match) but I've been so overwhelmed with the lovely, supportive responses I've had since. It's got to the point, in fact, that I'm now completely booked up for February and March, and I've already started taking names for the April waiting list. It's slightly crazy, but I love it and I'm proud of myself.

6 Feb 2018

Is Blogging Full-Time Really the Dream?

Blogging Full Time | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Blogging Full Time | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Full-time blogging, sounds good right?

A lot of people seem to think I'm a "full-time blogger" these days. I guess I do fit the mould, I have my freelance business and my income does come from both this and my blog, so it's an easy conclusion to come to. Sure, I probably invest enough hours into my blog to qualify as working on it "full-time", but it's not my main gig right now. I didn't think it was an unknown fact that I'm still studying, and my "full-time" consists of lectures and labs and reports and assessments instead of flatlays and photo shoots and writing and creating.

Obviously, I do spend a lot of my time doing those things, but it got me thinking - do I want to be a full-time blogger? And, honestly, the answer is no. I don't even want to be a full-time freelancer, not forever anyway. As much as I adore what I do right now, that's just not how I see my life panning out.

Why do you do it now, then?

It suits me perfectly right now. I get to set my own workload, make money doing something I love and work in an industry that's relevant to my degree. I get to choose my hours to suit my classes, I don't have to sacrifice my weekends to retail anymore, and I can work in my pyjamas if I want to, too. 

Not only does it suit my life as a student, but it also works pretty damn well alongside living with chronic illness. The flexibility of blogging and freelancing means that I can work at times that best suit me, meaning that if I'm having a bad pain day or feeling particularly foggy, I can give my body the rest it so desperately craves.

In return, I have a much better work-life balance. Yes, I do work a lot more than I did with my four hour retail contract, but I work when it's best for me instead of when my name is down on the rota. I'm able to work in tandem with my reserved energy levels to create a happier, more productive me. Being able to give this consideration to how I'm feeling means I'm much more able to spend my "down time" doing things. Gone are the days where I'd come in from work and crash on the sofa for the rest of the night, unable to muster the energy to do anything, and they've been replaced with more time to spend with friends... or to spend on the sofa anyway.

Blogging Full Time | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Blogging Full Time | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Why It's Not My Forever

I mean, that sounds like a pretty jammy set up, right? It probably sounds crazy that I don't want to do this forever, but hear me out.

As much as I love what I do, there are some downsides that come to the self-employed life. It is stressful. Chasing up invoices and dealing with emails, spending each day wondering if this job will be your last and if you're actually any good at what you do. It all takes its toll, particularly when I'm a pretty anxious person in the first place. It's not something I see myself coping well with for the rest of my life, as I crave stability, feedback and routine.

And even though my blog is essentially a business, it's still my creative outlet. It's my baby, and I don't want to be at the point where I'm driving myself demented trying to force myself to write when I just don't feel like it. I don't want this blog to become something I resent, it's my place to escape and that is exactly how I want it to stay.

My Dream Future

With that being said, I do see my blog and my business playing a large part in my future. I would be so chuffed if I could keep it all going part-time alongside something else. I don't talk a whole lot about my career aspirations, aside from the fact that I want to work in digital marketing, but I'd actually really like to be a lecturer. I love teaching people about digital marketing, so I hope that one day I'll be at a point where I can do that for a living.

If you were to ask me right now where I see myself, career-wise, in ten years time I'd say working a couple of days a week as a digital marketing lecturer, then spending the rest of my week working on my blog and my business. I'd love to do some brand consultancy in the distant future (but that's a long way away) and generally just spend the majority of my time teaching people to kill it online. My mornings will be reserved for walks around the park with my sausage dogs, though.

But who knows, things change. Maybe in ten years time, I'll be the next Zoella, and I'll be eating these words. 

What do you think, would you ever want to blog full-time?

Photos by the babe that is Claire White

Want more blogging tips? Head to the Blog and Beyond website or sign up for the newsletter here


1 Feb 2018

Five Beauty Favourites

Five Beauty Favourites Glasgow Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Five Beauty Favourites Glasgow Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog
Five Beauty Favourites Glasgow Blogger | Colours and Carousels - Scottish Lifestyle, Beauty and Fashion blog

Back when I used to enjoy making YouTube videos, I shared my favourite products on a monthly basis - because I'm a walking cliche. Since I fell away from the platform, I feel like I don't share my favourites as much as I could, so I wanted to sit down and have a chat about five of the products that are impressing me most right now. For the most part, they're new to me, but there is one that's been a staple in my routine for nearly four years now, too.

I used to be obsessed with trying the newest everything and I just had to own every shade going, but over the past few months, I've become a lot better at actually sticking to a routine and finding the products that work for me. For the most part, it's because of my mission to reduce my spending, so I'm trying to actually use things up instead of jumping on the next bandwagon, but it's also down to the fact that I've found some really damn good products.

Let's dive in, shall we?

The Cleanser

I'll start off with old faithful, The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil. Regulars around these parts have probably heard me rave about this before, as it's been a firm favourite of mine for a good few years now. I fell away from it for a while, trying out some alternatives, but none have impressed me quite as much as this beauty.

This cleansing oil ticks all my boxes. It's gentle, soothing and refreshing, leaving my skin silky soft and feeling super clean. It cuts through even the heaviest of makeup with ease, without irritating my skin in the slightest. The pump leaks a little which is a tad frustrating (but after a good ten or so bottles I've just come to accept), although it's nothing major.

I've never found a cleansing oil that works quite as well as this one, so I'd recommend it to all and sundry. At £12, it's pretty purse friendly, and a bottle can last me up to three months. Plus, The Body Shop nearly always have some sort of offer on and do 25% off for students, so you can usually snap it up for cheaper on the website.
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