The Gigi Hadid Signature Makeup

20 April 2016

Who doesn't look at Gigi Hadid and think a) "hot damn!", b) "killing it!" or c) "everything goals, okay! Hashtag EV-ER-Y-THING GOALS!"

As the queen of effortless street style and the goddess of glow, I find Gigi's aesthetic so inspiring and whenever I see any photos of her all I want to do is to run to my dressing table to give myself beachy tousled waves with a centre-parting, bronze/highlight my skin to within an inch of its life and wear my Victoria's Secret pyjamas in the iconic pink stripe.

So, I did just that on camera for you - click here for my take on Gigi Hadid's signature makeup in video tutorial form, and see below for a full list of the products I used. If you want to get Gigi's look on a budget, I've also included a drugstore dupe/alternative underneath for any high end products I've used.

• L'Oreal Paris Lumi Magique Highlighting Pen
• Urban Decay Primer Potion in 'Original'
DUPE: Rimmel Undercover Shadow Primer
• Benefit Dew the Hoola Liquid Bronzer
DUPE: Bourjois BB 8-in-1 Bronzing Cream
• Soap & Glory Archery Brow Tint & Pencil in 'Love Is Blonde'
• Benefit Gimme Brow in 'Light/Medium'
DUPE: L'Oreal Perfection Brow Artist Plumper
• Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise in 'Jean'
DUPE: Rimmel Scandaleyes Shadow Stick in 'Bulletproof Beige'
• Too-Faced Selfie Finishing Powder Palette in 'Totally Toasted'
DUPE: Rimmel Natural Bronzer
• KIKO Water Eyeshadow 'Champagne - 200'
• The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer
DUPE: Sleek Solstice Highlighter Palette
• Rebecca Stella The Squad Palette
DUPE: Sleek i-Divine Au Naturel Eyeshadow Palette
• Model Co Eye Define Eye Pencil
DUPE: Collection Intense Colour Supersoft Kohl Pencil
• Lancôme Hypnôse Volume à Porter Mascara
DUPE: 17 Doll'd Up Mascara
• Fleur De Force Couture Fleur Individual Lashes
• Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder
DUPE: Bourjois Délice de Soleil Bronzing Powder
• Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm 'Amp'd Up Apple'
DUPE: No7 Pop & Glow Cream Blush Stick OR KIKO Rebel Bouncy Blush 'Treasure Rose'
• Collection Speedy Highlighter
• No7 Precision Lips Pencil in 'Nude'
• Sleek True Colour Lipstick 'Barely There'
• Rimmel Kate Lasting Finish Nude Lipstick '42'

I know I'm going to be wearing this look so much this spring and when summer rolls around and I'd love to see your recreations, so please tweet a photo to @megsaystweet if you try it out yourself! Now, excuse me whilst I live in these VS pjs for the rest of my days...

How To Start A Blog (In Ten Steps!)

14 April 2016

A question I get asked every day without fail is "I'd like to start my own blog, can you help?" and so I've finally decided to write this post so I can stop replying with a short paragraph of tips and start replying with the link to this, which will hopefully help lots of you to begin your own blogging journey. Having had a blog for roughly eight years (I deleted my old one and started this new one in March 2014!) I can safely say that it's one of the best things in my life, so without further ado let's begin so that you can see if it'll become one of your 'best things', too!

- 1. "Establish your why"
Shoutout to Stef Michalak for bringing this quote of his into my life, as I think it's really important. First things first, why do you want to start blogging? For me, it was a natural need to write combined with becoming completely obsessed with the likes of lollipop26 and allthatglitters21 aged fourteen. The blogosphere has changed a lot since then and you'd be surprised at how many emails I get from people starting blogs based on getting "loads of free stuff" and wanting to "earn enough to live in central London within three months". It really doesn't work like that and if you wouldn't be happy to blog forever for nothing (no money or freebies) then it's worth considering whether it's something you're truly passionate about. There's no guarantee that any of us will make a living being a blogger, so why not do it because you love it first and foremost?

- 2. "Think of a name, then a concept"
Yay, we're onto the fun stuff! Before you do anything, figure out what your blog's going to be about (I'd advise basing it around your interests and passions) and tie in your blog name from there. Say you're starting a blog about knitting, choose something that reflects your content like 'Katie Knits' if you want to share your name* or 'Purls Of Wisdom' if you want to remain anonymous. If you'd like to have a lifestyle blog or cover multiple topics, go for a name that doesn't restrict you, for example 'Katie's Beauty Station' would lead people to think you run a beauty blog, whereas 'Katie's World' or 'Daily Katie' gives you more freedom to write about makeup, travel, knitting and basically whatever else you like. 

'Meg Says' was the name I gave my first blog circa 2008, and when I returned to blogging in 2014 I realised that I still really liked it as it doesn't put me or my content in a box and I feel like it suits my personality. Try and go for something that'll stand the test of time - if it's to do with your age or a current trend it'll change in the future, and you'll be tied to a name that's no longer relevant. Does your first name fit into a phrase or pun, have you got a hobby, do you simply want to self-title your blog? The possibilities are endless, so start playing around with ideas and make sure the name doesn't already exist.

*Please note that if you're putting your name/face out there, anyone can view it. I've been randomly browsing blogs before and realised that I've stumbled across someone's blog who I know in real life, so it's worth remembering that your online diary isn't private. Be careful about giving out personal information and ask yourself if you'd mind your family, colleagues or friends seeing it.

- 3. "Choose your platform"
Again, this is completely down to personal preference. For beginners I'd highly recommend Blogger, it's so easy and straightforward to use that it's foolproof even if you have no experience whatsoever and I've never had any issues at all. I used to blog on WordPress for my old social media job and found it a lot trickier to navigate, but if you're a whizz at HTML then it's probably the one for you.

Another frequently asked question is "do I need to buy a domain name?" and the answer is no, you don't. I got mine from GoDaddy and it can help to make your site look more professional (as well as getting rid of the little 'dot blogspot' after your blog name) but it's definitely not a must - in my opinion it's more important to work on your content in the beginning, and if you've got a limited budget your money is better spent on the next step.

- 4. "Pick a blog design"
Now it's time to start laying the bricks and mortar or your blog with a design, so think about how you'd like your blog to look and how much you're willing to spend. To give you an idea, this was my header back in 2014...

I'd just restarted my blog and wanted something simple, clean and pretty. I found this downloadable mint watercolour design by Googling 'free Blogger templates', searched for a font I liked, edited in the text and kept it for a good year and a half until my blog underwent a recent redesign. It wasn't the most complex of interfaces, but it did the job and didn't cost me a penny. If you are able to spend some money on your blog there are multiple website designers out there (like Pipdig, Envye and Pretty Wild Things to name but a few) who offer pre-made templates as well as custom designs, so do your research until you find the right one for you. 

- 5. "Equip yourself"
Firstly, enthusiasm over equipment! I stressed this in my Ten Things I've Learnt About YouTube In One Year video, as you could spend thousands on cameras and lighting but without a drive to create that equipment means very little. In 2014 I didn't have a camera so I used my iPhone 4, and people would still ask what I was using. Phones take HD photos these days and whilst a proper camera will make a big difference to the quality of your content, sometimes its better to make the most of what you've got and just get started - 'done' is better than perfect, after all.

If you decide blogging's for you and you've got some money to spend on making things more professional, take a look at the equipment your favourite bloggers use and see if that fits your budget - I use a Canon 600D, fantastic all-rounder - and if not, search for a cheaper model or buy secondhand. You can also invest in 'extras' like tripods, softboxes and Photoshop but the basic essentials are a) a computer and b) something that takes photos.

- 6. "Start creating and publishing posts"
Go, go, go! It can be slightly daunting, but begin with a post to say hello and introduce yourself to potential readers (here's mine) and things should flow once you've established your tone. I tend to type how I speak so things have a chatty and friendly vibe (we're all pals here), but if you'd like to be more formal or do photo-heavy posts with little text then do what feels right - a good rule of thumb is to write posts that you like reading yourself. It's also handy to have pages like 'About' and 'Contact' so that readers and brands can easily find out more if they'd like to.

Posting regularly and consistently is a great way to build your audience, and how often you update your blog is another personal choice - some upload daily and have a schedule so their audiences know when to expect new content, others post once a week - basically, whatever suits you and your life.

- 7. "Get social"
I don't know anyone who has a blog and isn't on social media, so set yourself up some accounts - there are lots out there but I'd say Twitter and Instagram are the two you should focus on initially. I decided to create new accounts separate from my personal ones which is almost like having a home phone and a work phone - I can keep up with everything my friends are doing and if everyone I went to school with doesn't want to hear about my latest YouTube video, they don't have to! I'd recommend doing the same. 

After putting your time and energy into a post you're going to want people to read it, so don't be afraid to share it on your accounts and invite people to have a browse. Social media also enables you to contact brands directly, so if you've published a post about their products or services it's fine to politely include their @ in your tweet or tag them in a photo - there's a chance they'll see it and it's never too early to start building connections and being recognised for the hard work you're putting in.

- 8. "Build your audience and join the community"
A fantastic way of growing your audience and making friends is to get involved with the community. There's a great Twitter Chat Calendar here, so why not set aside an hour one evening to join in? There's always an opportunity to share your links at the end, so you're showcasing your blog to lots of potential readers as well as having a lovely chat in the process. Utilising relevant hashtags can help bring people your way, as can having a Bloglovin' page which is free and easy to set up. 

Responding to your readers is a big yes in my book - there are millions of blogs out there and these people have taken the time out of their day to read yours, so if they leave a comment be sure to reply. If someone asks where your jumper is from on Twitter, tweet them back and let them know. It doesn't take much effort (in the early stages anyway) and lets your audience know they're appreciated and that you see it as a two-way relationship between you and them.

I'd think carefully about hosting giveaways when you've just started your blog - they do gain you followers in the short-term, but it's more worthwhile to work hard on building a loyal group of regular readers who care about what you have to say.

- 9. "Throw yourself into it and see where it takes you"
Once you've been blogging for a little while, you might want to have a think about how you're progressing and whether it's a hobby or something you'd eventually like turn into your job. If it's the former, I'd say carrying on going at your own pace; feel free to put as many or as little hours into as you fancy and delight in having a corner of the web that's all yours. If it's the latter, let's be real - you're gonna have to work super hard. Blogging in general can be challenging so to go full-time is a lot harder than it might look, but don't let that realisation put you off - it's a fantastic career path filled with rewarding opportunities and lots of great people. Either way, give it your all and make sure you...

- 10. "Have fun!"
I wanted to put this last as it's what I always say to people when they ask me for advice on starting a blog - it's a saturated market these days and it's easy to have feelings of self-doubt when you measure big blogs against your own, but relax a little and remember that you're at the beginning of your journey and another blogger might be six years in. Give it your all and enjoy the ride!

Create stuff, be proud of it and have fun. There's only one of you and your life is unlike anyone else's, and blogging is a beautiful way of sharing that with the world.

I really hope this was helpful, if you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments and I'll answer them as best I can by replying or writing a follow-up post.
Happy blogging!

March Favourites

12 April 2016

Excuse me whilst I have a mini freak-out over the fact that it's April yet it feels like the end of the first week of January when you're blissfully revelling in that slightly smug, satisfied feeling you get when you're still totally on top of your new year's resolutions...

...and we're back in the room. Let's leave the 'seriously, it's April already? APRIL?!' feelings at the door - because let's face it, those occur at the start of every new month/day/afternoon - and commence with some of the things I've loved throughout the month of March, shall we?

It was a time of great discovery when it comes to skincare, as I found a new favourite cleanser that - stop the press - is the only one that has ever rivalled my beloved Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm. Say hi to Temple Spa In The Beginning Facial Cleansing Melt, a rich balm containing exfoliating beads that melt during facial massage - they describe it as a "facial in a jar" and I'm on board with that. I've been using it as my second cleanse and am addicted to the impeccably soft yet intensely nourished way it makes my skin feel. I've also got a new obsession with the Ole Henriksen Truth Sugar Glow Polishing Mask, which essentially feels like coating your skin in honey and sugar (you'll love it or loathe it, I'm a lover) and gives some serious glowy, healthy radiance to the skin. I've also been treating my complexion to my new favourite thing; sheet masks! Perfect for a pamper session and incredible if you're in need of a timeout, Maskeraide Detox Diva has been my go-to for tired skin and Skin Republic CoQ10 + Caviar works wonders for dehydrated skin and making it feel 10x plumper.

Moving onto makeup, I feel like I've found the perfect combo for the most long-lasting, easy and gorgeous champagne eye ever - hats off to the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes To Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in 'Jean' which delivers just the right amount of shimmer, and give a round of applause to KIKO Water Eyeshadow in '200 Champagne'.

I'm into haircare in a way that I've never been before at the moment, and I've been really impressed by the Mark Hill Kerasatin Shampoo and Kerasatin Conditioner. With its keratin-enriched formula, this duo has made my hair that much more sleek and shiny that I haven't been able to stop running my hands through it. You probably already know about my addiction to the Smoothie Star range from Soap & Glory also, and I've been covering myself in either the Body Buttercream or the Deep Moisture Body Milk on a daily basis.

Those are the skincare, haircare and makeup bits and bobs I've been using non-stop - how about you? If you'd like to see me talk about these products in more detail along with my lifestyle favourites of the month, watch my March Favourites video here!

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

4 April 2016

"Oh Charlotte, can you do no wrong?"... is probably what I said out loud when I tried the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, and my love for it has only grown since that fateful first application. I'd heard a lot of hype around this product and as I trust thy fellow bloggers - e.g. my friend Hannah wears it and her skin always looks incredible - I decided to pop one in my basket whilst purchasing the two new pink lipstick offerings by The Tilbs.

With fifteen shades (accompanied by photos of models which is so helpful when buying online) I found it fairly easy to match myself to Shade 3 - Fair, described as a "neutral beige for light skintones with cool undertones". My initial thoughts were that it was pretty orange, but somehow as soon as you start buffing it blends seamlessly into the skin and I'm left with a perfect colour match, a flawless finish and the protection of SPF 15.

In terms of application I've never been a fan of using my hands, but the formulation has an almost skincare-like quality to it and whilst it works well with a brush or sponge, they don't work the product into my skin quite like the warmth from my fingers can. It's a really interesting consistency that feels part foundation, part serum/moisturiser and part gel. My skin is combination so I can appreciate how it's moisturising yet long-lasting, as it glides over dry patches (slightly different story with flaking skin, but to be honest I've never found a foundation that disguises that issue) and doesn't leave me with an oily forehead by lunchtime. I do set my t-zone with powder (MAC Studio Fix in NC20, holla) but I'd say the finish is demi-matte with a natural glow, so if you're dry or combination but lean towards the drier side you should be fine. If you're more oily, it might be worth picking up a sample first to see how it sits on your skin. Actually, scrap that, try and pick up a sample to test it out before purchasing whatever your skin type - it's an expensive foundation after all!

Of course the packaging is stunning, encased in a slightly frosted glass and with CT's signature rose gold lid - which does come off by the way, muggins over here didn't realise for the first few applications and when I mentioned my mistake in this video lots of you said you had no idea it had a pump either, so I thought it was worth a little mention now to save you from the same blunder!

Seeing as half a pump easily covers my whole face, I'm assuming a bottle will last a decent amount of time and it's currently my go-to foundation for day or night! If you're on a budget I'd recommend experimenting with skincare combined with makeup - e.g. as the Magic Foundation contains hyaluronic filling spheres, try Hydraluron - and in the meantime, I'll keep my eyes out for a more affordable dupe! There's also The Magic Foundation Kit which includes the foundation, Charlotte's Magic Cream and a brush for £80.

Have you tried anything from Charlotte Tilbury? Recommendations are welcome!

Spring ASOS/Topshop Wishlist

1 April 2016

Spring has officially sprung, and these cloudless blue skies and the crisp air are definitely helping me wave goodbye to the thick cable-knits and oversized scarves of winter! Say hello to sheer fabrics and lightweight shirt dresses, because we're getting blissfully close to no-tights weather here in the UK - someone remind me to de-fuzz and tan my legs, please! - and stores are full of the prettiest spring pieces.

Usually when I take my lunchtime break from work I'll stick an episode of Friends on (along with the kettle, goes without saying) but recently I've been replacing my usual fix of Chandler Bing with an online browse - and as an avid 'save to wishlist' kinda girl, I thought I'd share some of those items with you in case you want to refresh your wardrobe but would rather watch The One Where Rachel Finds Out. I've got you!

Have you ever seen more 'Meg' pieces? You might notice that there's a definite theme of light, neutral pastels and plenty of detailed pieces from blouses to high-waisted skirts, which is my style down to a tee. I'm so in love with everything, especially these Topshop NOLA Soft Knot Sandals that I can see going perfectly with this Ribbed Turtleneck tucked into the Guipure A-Line Lace Skirt. Out all day in that outfit (maybe with a Suedette Grey Biker Jacket on top) and then stripping off to get in these glorious ASOS Satin Piped Pyjamas when you arrive home? Um, excuse me whilst I get saving/break into my piggybank!