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December is here- hooray! And as usual, I’m here on What Emma Did another year later, bringing you a lovely Christmas themed giveaway for the Christmas countdown.  Because tis’ the season for giving, loving, and being a jolly good person, right?

Again, I’ve had the most amazing year with the What Emma Did blog and online boutique, so much so that I’m positive 2017 will be even better. I have HUGE plans for the boutique (just you wait!) and of course, even bigger plans for the blog. So I’m setting myself up for a super busy December, a nice chilled out Xmas week break, and then going back into it all head first for January. Woooo… I can almost smell the excitement and see the glitter pouring!

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I’ll stop waffling on for now anyway, and leave you with this fabulous, super-girly competition for you all to enter. I’ve teamed up with the lovely guys at Sienna X – the gorgeous tanning brand – to offer you my Purple Sequin Party Dress along with their party essential HIT Kit (High Intensity Tan Kit). This pretty pairing is all you need to take you from desk to disco, home to havoc over the party season!

The luxury tanning kit is detailed below….

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This lovely set contains everything you need to create a professional tan at home. The HIT KIT is the perfect gift set for treating yourself, or gifting others, and is worth over £56!

1 x High Intensity Tan 200ml

1 x Balance Body Wash 200ml

1 x Radiance Body Balm 200ml

1 x Luxury Tanning Mitt

1 x Luggage friendly cosmetics bag


To enter, just make sure you follow What Emma Did and Sienna X below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A question I often get asked when people either a) view my blog, or b) browse my online boutique, is how much editing do I put into my photographs. Or sometimes, I get asked if I even edit my photography at all. Which I’m not too sure if that’s a compliment or not really!

However, it’s a really good question to ask for a number of reasons. Firstly, no one wants to be following a blogger daily, realising that the online image portrayed of her/her life is in actual fact manipulated. My blog is soon to be reaching 7 years old, and I’d like some of my readers that were with me back in 2010 to be able to recognise me if they passed me in the street. Secondly, on the other hand, editing is *sometimes* really needed as a blogging essential, purely to improve the visual appearance of the blog.

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I’ll set my story straight. Do I edit my blog photography? The answer is, yes – sometimes.

Whether its lifestyle shots, outfit shots, makeup close-ups or delicious food photography, I tend to take these ‘as-I-go’, which means snapping away on an iPhone SE, or my Canon bridge camera. Sometimes I’ll shoot in dimly-lit bars, other times I’ll shoot on picturesque beaches. Sometimes I shoot in my bulb-lit bedroom, and then out in the light and airy countryside.

So that my blog has a professional feel, for me editing has to take place. I like to edit my images on the move, or quickly when I’m at home, so I’ll use a free online editing service like Fotor. I don’t have the luxury of a blog photographer assisting me at events or around the house, so I have to do it all myself, regardless of the lighting situation. And hey, a little tweak of a few tools can make sure a difference.

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Fotor lets me easily upload my images from both my camera and iPhone, and play around with the clarity, sharpness and contrast, to name a few. It makes editing photos super easy, even for the ones with poor design skills out there. Heres a few pointers as to how I perfect my online boutique shots, and my general blog lifestyle shots.

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I treat my boutique photography like model photography – even though I am far far FAR away from resembling a model. But that’s the point, I want to look ‘real’ in my shots. But I do want to bring out the quality and colours of my dresses too.

  • Brighten – I always use the brighten and contrast options to lighten the image up, yet add a slight contrast effect.
  • Crop – I always crop in. No one cares about the ceiling or the floor, and my dresses look much more eye catching when close-up
  • Blemish Fix – Yes, this is the one editing tool I use on my face. I don’t slim myself down or blur myself out or do anything drastic, but I’ll often have a zoom in and conceal over any spots. I guess it’s just a personal hang up of mine. My boutique is sold across ASOS, so I don’t want any ugly acne sightings appearing on such a worldwide site!

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Again, I play around with the contrast and crop the background away on many of my fashion, beauty, food and lifestyle shots. I also juggle with some of the below options too…

  • Collage: Sometimes my images look so much more impactful when bunched together in a creative format, in which the collage function is a life saver! It’s also ideal to save these collages and re-use them for social media.
  • Effects: A little like Instagram filters, Fotor has an array of stunning filters which add character and life to your photos. If you have a clean and crisp black and white style to your blog, you can usually find some modern filters to give this effect. There’s also some lovely sepia style and the more ‘novelty’ effects – such as Christmas themed!

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Overall, I’ll brighten up, crop in shape, and zap away blemishes, but I call it quits at that. If I’m running a blog review post about my skin concerns and post before and after’s, then neither photos will have any editing – and that sadly includes any pesky spots or redness!

A lot of people invest in Photoshop and other professional photo editing apps, but I find I get along just fine with Fotor.

Do you have a favourite online editing tool?

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Yay! December is here (in just two sweet days), so now’s the time to properly start prepping for an endless array of Christmas gatherings, parties, get-togethers and general fun!

Along with the hundreds of party dresses I have lined up to whittle through (OK so not hundreds, that would be pretty amazing, but I definitely went OTT with my ordering over the Black Friday weekend), the next hurdle was finding a pair of classic shoes. When I say ‘classic’ I say it because I’m one of those girls that doesn’t hugely follow trends when it comes to footwear: I just want a timeless pair of black stilettos that will go with every possible item.

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But not a pair that are too plain. I don’t want to look like I’ve owed the pair since I was 21. A pair with a bit of detail and a stunning twist. I spend most of my day times wearing comfortable shoes which aim to look after my feet, so I don’t mind going all out with staggering heels on the weekend. For work, I’ll opt for comfort when standing on my feet all day. After all, your feet are what carry you every day!

After being made aware of 4th + Reckless, I browsed the site and found what I now safely say are my go to ‘little black party shoes’. And totally with a difference, because they go slightly away from the classic court shoe or open toe style shoe. Instead, these Amber Mesh Stiletto Black Heels feature caged style fabric, and a sky scraper fine heel.

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Retailing at a super affordable £28, this pretty pair are ideal for teaming with skinny jeans, leggings, and more importantly, party dresses!

If you’re looking for some new heels to pair up with your occasion wear this December, but don’t want to be parting with £50 for different pairs, I’d highly recommend checking out 4th Reckless. The site is completely new to me, and I’ve been overly impressed with the range of catwalk inspired – and classic – styled shoes.

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Very happy to discover this brand!

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How have you all got on with your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping? Every one spent up and all prepared for Christmas? Or, did you do what I did, and used Black Friday and Cyber Weekend to just be a selfish shopper and spoil yourself silly?

I didn’t mean to originally. I did have a list saved aside with a few gift ideas for family and friends. But you know what – I work in online marketing for a retailer group alongside managing What Emma Did, and I have seriously worked my socks off this sale period. From night shifts, to weekend work and 2 am finishes, I’ve earnt a fair treat or two.

So that’s exactly what I did. I started browsing a number of sites and got so swept away with the fantastic discounts that I ended up just stocking up for myself. Beauty, make-up, shoes, but more importantly, clothes. I literally don’t know what came over me, but I like to call it the Boohoo bug.

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I visited My Favourite Voucher Codes so I could have an overall scan of what every retailer was offering, and then came across the Boohoo deals. And I really did need to buy a new coat. And don’t get me started on a new dress. And work tops…

The main deals they were offering included up to 50% off site wide, which required a good ol’ search through. But then certain categories have their own unique offers, like 30% off coats and knits. Which might have prompted me to buy this gorgeous coffee coloured wrap coat…

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As well as generic percentage offers, My Favourite Voucher Codes also notifies of delivery options too. Which is a handy one for me really as I really need to start doing some online gift shopping where I get the benefit of free shipping.

Have you found any good shopping deal sites which have helped you make some lovely sale purchased? Be sure to let me know!

 

 

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My story in a nutshell is this: I live between two houses. But it’s not quite as stressful as it sounds. My boyfriend lives in the Staffordshire area and I still have my own house in Manchester, in which we alternate weekends, and I usually spend my week nights at his.

If anything, it’s much more of a stress for my actual make-up and beauty product collection. I love nothing more than having all my essential products with me at all times, and with the changing of houses, it sometimes means my favorite moisturiser or foundation is left at the other house. Seems no biggy to some people, but for all you make-up and beauty junkies out there, you’ll feel my frustration when I have to use a second – or third – favourite.

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Which has led me to introduce you to my newest purchase, this sleek and stylish beauty storage case from Domu. The case comes from the brands new make-up and beauty inspired storage range called Beautify – a range of classic and modern accessories to keep all items tidy. With cosmetics and beauty products becoming the largest industry women spend disposable money on these days, it’s only natural that we need cute accessories to store them in.

I’m a sucker for elegant, timeless black and silver colourways, so when I came across this smart and sassy little case, I knew this would be a great way to store all my favourites in one place at my boyfriends place. But because it’s a lightweight carry case, I can just pick it up in the mornings and take it into my car with me. So if I end up going back to Manchester for the night with me, my ‘face’ can still come with me.

A much needed idea I wish I had thought of ages ago!

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It’s super space deceiving, with pull-out trays and compartments to store just about anything. There are slots for eye pens and lip pencils, and compartments for all the potions and lotions you could need. This lovely storage case costs just £24.99 for a large size, and £19.99 for the next size smaller.

Don’t just take my word for it though, because there’s some other stunning ones of the site which are a lot more ‘funkier’ than this one, embellished with glitters and all kinds.

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And whilst you’ve got me on the topic of my favourite beauty products, I’ve just been trialing out the rather luxurious Antipodes Manuka Honey Skin-Brightening Light Day Cream and Eye Cream. My love for Antipodes started when I began using their Antipodes Skin Brightening Face Wash, and received comments from a couple of people that in the mornings I was looking much more radiant.

As switching up my cleanser was the only amendment I had made, I had to put these compliments down the glow enhancing wash! So it made perfect sense to start exploring the brightening light face cream and eye cream. At this rate, surely my face will literally be lit up!

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Well it’s only been two weeks since I’ve taken on this skin-brightening regime, but I have noticed that somehow my skin just seems to appear a little more clearer, and dare I say it, more radiant. The day cream is so smoothing and light to apply, with a lovely natural scent, so I’m more than happy to keep using these two creams in conjunction with each other to see if I really can achieve a luminous complexion.

Come back soon – I’ll be reporting on my full findings after it’s been six week!

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