Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Monochrome Bloom OOTD

I was in my hometown over the weekend and so I took the opportunity to pester my mum into playing photographer. I was going to a friend's going away party and decided on a monochrome ensemble: partly because it suited my mood and partly because it's all I had packed!

Top: Thrifted // Dress: Penneys/Primark // Shoes: Office

Since I was ready before the sun went down, we took a few snaps in the garden which is looking pretty damn cute, I must say. The colourful sweet peas make for a perfect backdrop.

Also, these photos are the first on my blog that show my new hair cut! I went for a buzzcut because I was rather bored of my hair and wanted a dramatic change. So I took the plunge. But I'm hoping to dedicate a post to the change, so I'll leave my thoughts until then, suffice it to say that I'm thrilled with it!

Don't ask me where the necklace is from... As you can see it's tattered because I've had it for years, and can't quite remember where I bought it. Fashion blogger problems, eh?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Getting Out of a Blogging Rut

Over the summer, I lost the motivation to blog. Far from when I used to bash out numerous posts a week, I was struggling to update my blog fortnightly. But it wasn't blogger's block per say: I wasn't even attempting to write posts. I was just in a serious blogging rut.

Don't get me wrong, I was never going to make a dramatic exit from the blogging scene. Or even shuffle away quietly. I love blogging. I knew it then. I just couldn't remember why exactly. Thus, I was left unfulfilled with my sparse blog and uninspired content.

But I wouldn't let the lull defeat me. I'm here now, aren't I? A number of things that I've done in the last few weeks have rekindled and reminded me of my love of blogging...

How I got out of a blogging rut...

  • Reading and commenting on other blogs - The blogs on my Bloglovin' feed are all inspiring in one way or another, whether it's because of creative imagery, engaging writing, or rocking OOTDs. Simply taking the time to catch up on my favourite blogs reminded me of why I love the blogging scene. Plus, posting in the comment section reminded me of the positive blogging community that's out there.
  • Limiting the amount of TV I watch after work - Binge watching Pretty Little Liars until the wee hours was zapping my productivity. Why does there have to be so many episodes?
  • Creating content offline - It's much less daunting to pick up an pen and paper than to click that bright orange 'new post' button on Blogger's interface. Create first, post online later.
  • Clearing out my email - I'd ignored it for far too long. It was time to read old messages (that I should have dealt with ages ago) and delete, delete, delete. It's time for a fresh start and the 1,000 unread emails were making me edgy.
  • Asking myself outright: Why do I like to blog? If I were pinpoint one thing I love about blogging: It's taking the photos. I adore photography, and without a good photo series, it's much harder for me to find the motivation to write. So rekindling my passion for blogging is as easy as pressing the shutter of my DSLR.

I'm excited as ever about blogging now. I can't believe I went for months feeling so 'meh' about the whole thing. Blogging is my favourite hobby and I can't wait to get creating with this renewed feeling of excitement!

Have you ever been in a dreaded blogging rut? What rekindles your love for blogging when you feel a bit 'meh' about it all?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

3 Apps for Creative Instagram Posts

For the visual out there, Instagram is the ideal social platform. If you've been selective about who you follow, scrolling through the feed is like flicking through your favourite magazine, taking in the pretty photography and glancing at the captions. But the fun really begins as you populate your own Instagram profile with snaps of your adventures. From nights out in killer heels to nights in with hot chocolate, we pick the highlights (and find the best lighting) to snap and share.

That's all very well, but what do you do when your feed all starts to feel a bit samey? Download a new app and get creative with your edits, of course! Here are three apps that I use to spice up my Instagram when it's all looking a bit Insta-meh.

Price: €0.99 // Available on: iOS & Android

Let's start with the easiest edit way to transform your pics. True to its name, Afterlight allows you to add fake light leaks to your images. Simply select a photo from your gallery and tap on the little icon that looks like the end of a roll of film. Select 'light leak' and get experimenting with the options! Below are a few posts that have been enhanced with light leaks.

Apps used: Afterlight (light leak overlay) & VSCOcam

If you're after the vintage film camera look, try the 'dusty' overlays. These add specks to the image, making your phone photos appear as if they've been taken with a worse-for-wear pinhole camera. That ought to add a bit of mystery to the 50th selfie of the day.

Apps used: Afterlight (dusty overlay & light leak overlay) & VSCOcam

Price: Free // Available on: iOS & Android

Moldiv is not inherently a creative app, since it is mostly used to create collages. But when you start getting creative with your collages: that's when the fun begins.

Apps used: Moldiv & VSCOcam

It's a little difficult to explain how to use Moldiv creatively, so I'll show you with an example. I'd taken a photo of the River Liffey and did an edit of it in VSCOcam (my favourite app for filters and basic edits). It was okay and could have cut it on my Instagram feed as it was, but I had a long bus journey with time to kill. So I opened Moldiv, chose the template split into four triangles, and selected the photo four times to populate the blank spaces. Next I removed the frame, rotated each segment, and lined them up, resulting in a trippy image that looked sort of like a surreal television set. You can see what the final image looked like above. The same sort of process can be adopted to create reflections, by flipping and/or rotating segments of the image, and this works well for OOTDs as well as landscapes.

Apps used: Moldiv & VSCOcam

Price: €1.99 // Available on: iOS & Android

And now for the app that will give your photos the biggest transformation: Fragment app. By far the least subtle of the lot, this app will distort and transform your images. Play around with this app and you'll soon realise that you can push your images until they are unrecognisable.

When travelling around China I made use of this app. I was documenting the whole trip and uploading to Instagram as I went, and my feed became inundated with Buddhist temples, oriental landscapes and awe-inspiring skylines. All very beautiful, sure, but I wanted to do something a little different for a photo or two.

Apps used: Fragment, Moldiv & VSCOcam

Take, for instance, the Shanghai skyline. I'd already uploaded a nighttime shot of the view - but I wanted to show the contrast between the city at night and at day. Putting both images into a Moldiv template was okay, but it needed something more. So I took it into Fragment, played with a few options, and came up with the photo you see above.

Apps used: Fragment, Moldiv & VSCOcam

So there you have it - three apps for getting creative with your Instagram posts. If you like what you see, be sure to follow me on Instagram! Happy editing!

Friday, 4 September 2015

One Happy Change: Colouring Book Edition

Every month this year When I can, I'll be improving my lifestyle in one simple way, whether it's breaking a bad habit or creating a positive change. Through doing this I'm hope to revamp my life, one change at a time. The last edition saw me send handwritten letters. For August, I've rediscovered childhood joy through colouring. Read on to see how I did...

Whether you roll your eyes at the idea, or have your felt-tip pens at the ready, adult colouring books are all the rage at the moment. And since I received one for Christmas, I decided it was time for me to dig out my old art supplies and get creative... Within the lines, of course!

Advocates for adult colouring books proclaim that it lowers stress levels, as the hobbyist focuses on the activity at hand. Others reject the hype, annoyed by those that associate colouring with mindfulness, meditation, or art therapy, without any evidence. Regardless of the naysayers, I was eager to give in to the hype and see for myself whether it had any benefits

August was a stressful month for me, as there were a number of university deadlines for me to met. It was the perfect time for me to see if colouring would calm my stressed-out mind. And did it work? Well, I can't say it did much to curb my stress levels, but perhaps that's not a surprise considering the frazzled state I was in.

While I didn't feel it provided stress-relief, the act of colouring was fun! And the simple act of picking up a pen has reminded me that I like to create. Sitting in my bedroom is an A3 sketchbook, with too many blank pages. Colouring has egged on my creativity, and now it's time to step it up a notch and fill the blank pages with new creations.

Following on from a colourful August, September is set to be a creative month!