Home Made Granola

A few weeks back, the worst finally happened. I was out of granola with zero backup stash - a sad day in the Hello October household. I'd just come back from Paris and was really feeling all the travelling (in my stomach), so I was determined to get something a little more nourishing than pop tarts on my breakfast plate. I remembered seeing Fleurs healthy breakfast video and soon realised that I could make my own granola easy peasy! I tweaked the recipe a tad as their were a few extra things I wanted to add in or substitute, but the whole thing was pretty easy and rather scrumptious!

2 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of cried chopped dates
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup of chia seeds
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of honey

1/4 cup of dark chocolate drops (optional)

1) Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees.
2) Throw all of your dry ingredients in together and mix them up. 
3) Add in your coconut oil and mix this in, followed by the honey. 
4) Mix well and add to an oven tin covered in baking parchment. 
5) Roast for 10 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
6) For chocolate fiends - sprinkle dark chocolate drops in to the granola mix once it has cooled completely. (These compliment any berries that you might serve with your granola)

For those who aren't cursed with a sweet tooth, you might want to reduce the amount of honey or choose a different dried fruit (dates are super sweet - mmm!) as this collective of ingredients can be a bit too much for those who aren't big on sweet treats.

This will never replace my love of the dried banana and strawberry granola from my local health food shop, but it's a very easy alternative and made enough for two weeks of daily servings! 

The Hair Repair-er

After adding "disney princess hair" to my goals for 2015 I knew I had to up the anti with my hair care this year. After chopping off my longer locks I fell in to a bit of a rut with my haircare routine and was a tad lazier with heat protectant and hair masks. Lesson learnt: your hair might be soft and swishy when you first cut it but things can become a bit frazzled when it comes to growing things out.

In addition to daily styling wear and tear, the number of shoots I've been on in the past 6 months has increased massively and after two or three hair changes on each of these my hair has been in need of a lot of TLC. I stocked up on a few products back in January in the hope that my hair might not fall out after a few too many shoots and the star of the show by miles has been the SachaJuan Hair Repair.

I've been stalking SachaJuan range on Cult Beauty for over the year now and with my current hair predicament I decided the hair repair was definitely one to try. I use it every other wash (or every two washes - dependant on laziness/time issues) and after around a month of use I noticed my hair was starting to behave differently to it's usual self - think more shine and less fluff. The real proof has been in my vlogs where I can really see a difference from the start of the year and thankfully I'm not the only one who noticed!

After using shampoo and conditioner, I sit with it on my hair for around 10 - 15 minutes (alongside a face mask or two - ultimate pamper time)before rinsing it off. Although I'm not the most keen on the smell, the consistency is liquidly enough to distribute through the hair - nothing like the thick, slippery conditioner feel that a lot of masks bring.

Post wash, my hair now feels far more soft and sleek, in turn making it far more manageable than it has been in the past. It's more expensive than a few of my drugstore hair mask favourites but there is a noticeable difference in the condition of the hair and longevity of the results which is so important on my mission for princess hair.

Spring Steps

I know I've been wishing for it, but things really are starting to warm up down on the coast. I no longer have to wear six billion layers plus a scarf and hat, and more recently even a light coat is acceptable some mornings. I can almost feel spring time creeping in, and with S/S related projects starting to drop, I can't quite contain my excitement! Lighter coats and cardigans have been purchased, my army of open topped flats have been dusted off and if my trusty leather jackets could do a dance then I'm sure they would! 

More than anything, I'm just looking forward to not being rained on daily...






Thing I Wish I Knew When Starting YouTube

I've talked about a few of my core tips for running a blog and YT channel before, but more recently I've been pondering the things I wish I knew when first starting my channel - tiny things (mostly at minimal or no extra cost) that would help to improve my video quality by miles. The things I wish someone else had told me (or in my case having a genius boyfriend who's a pro at editing - the wording should be LISTENED to) from the very beginning. Depending what stage you're at with YouTube, be it a non existent channel or a growing one, some of these might be helpful to you.

I only realised the true benefit of colour correction after filming videos for mine and Alix's channels. Shot same day, same place and one looked significantly better (FYI: it wasn't mine). Alix did a number of things that I didn't at the time, but the one significant factor that made a huge difference was the colour correction that took place. The camera doesn't always capture the way things look in real life, so upping the saturation, brightness and contrast can make a huge difference. You don't have to work with fancy curves and levels for this, the simple functions on iMovie and other more basic software can still make a noticeable difference.

Daily vlogging is hard. When you're vlogging your day to day life as it's happening the day really can run away with you. Every now and then you see vlogs with huge gaps or no ending and that's totally okay, because life happens. If this is something you struggle with then it's important to allow extra time for vlogging. For example, If I have a busy day ahead that I'm going to attempt to capture then I'll make sure I get up early, allowing time for an intro and extra contextual footage.

It's also important to leave extra time for tutorials and more structured videos. Rushing things can lead to shots that aren't quite right, serious concentration faces and incorrect sentences. Make time to make sure you've thought through your shots (even better film some from different angles for extra choice) and speak at a slower rhythm, thinking through what you want to say if you aren't a natural speaker (*points at self*).

Both artificial and natural lighting is so hard to get right. Natural light is forever changing, but artificial light can easily go wrong. Everyone lights their videos differently and that's okay. It's good to remember no matter what that you are one man band and not a professional production company. Some people might have lot's of equipment or someone to help them set up and some might only use natural light. Neither options are right or wrong. It's important not to beat yourself up over it and don't ever feel like you must have natural lighting to make visually pleasing videos. No one can tell you which one is right or wrong as everyones lighting in their filming space is different, but below are a few pointers to help you decide.

Artificial lighting can look artificial or verge on natural depending on how you set it up. Natural light bounces off of surfaces and lights you from different angles. If this is the look you are after then you may need one or more lights or equipment to bounce it. The best way of lighting is a three light system. This can be done with up to three studio lights or various light sources. For example, some use two box lights (one for the wall and one to the side) and a ring light (to light from straight on or from below), where as I use one studio light (straight on), a window to the side of it and a lamp in the background to light the wall behind me. To mimic natural light and make it more flattering I sometimes place a mirror at an angle to bounce the light ahead of me on to my face from below. Artificial lighting can often make your background feel cold. So for me I like to use lamps, candles and fairy lights in the background to add a warm glow as well as brightening the wall behind.

Out of everything natural light is my favourite, but it's very temperamental. For my sanity I've been using studio lights much more over the past few months (especially whilst the weather is awful). But in the summer my videos were really well lit without a single light being used. I have white walls, and when the sun shines through the light bounces beautifully and lights from every angle (super flattering). However if there are clouds this can cause the lighting to be inconsistent, so it's good to make sure you're not in direct sunlight on very bright days to avoid sudden changes to the light. Bright but completely overcast days are best for consistent natural lighting. It's also a good idea to make sure you film directly facing a window to avoid harsh shadows.

If you have more than one camera (e.g. one for vlogging and one for photos) then its important to make sure you have more than one memory card for two reasons:

1) MEMORY: Video files take up a lot of space, regardless of the type of videos you make (vlogging regularly will naturally take up more) and if you don't keep super on top of clearing your card after filming they will all build up. There's nothing worse than being out of memory in the middle of filming and having a back up.

2) COORDINATION: When I just had one memory card it made switching between cameras such a ball ache. Having two or more means each of your cameras will always have a memory card, or if you just own the one camera, you will always have a spare card to use. No frantically deleting old files in an attempt to clear up space anymore!

Like memory cards, it's good to keep spare batteries. Alongside no memory, no power is a mass ball ache. Having to wait for one battery to recharge because it ran out mid-film will add hours on to the production time. This can ruin entire videos during the winter months as we lose the light so much quicker.

Depending on what editing software you use (if at all) you could have lots of different audio options. One thing I came across quite early on that isn't always picked up on when you're starting out is the importance of trimming your audio (both speech and music) to ensure your music starts at the exact same time as your clip (some tracks come with an extra 10 seconds at the beginning before the music kicks in) and your silences and the "inbetweens" (for lack of a better word) of clips are cut out. It sounds so basic, but it often doesn't happen and makes all the difference.

Some of these are definitely more on the technical side - this definitely isn't a beginners tips type of post (there are plenty of those out there already and I'd already touched on a few pointers here). Let me know if these types of posts are something you would like to see more of - I have a little something else drafted just incase!

Drugstore Beauty Haul & First Impressions

When it comes to videos, something involving shopping, minimal prep (I will forever hate admin and set up) and makeup application will always be right up my street. Enter, Drugstore Hauls with a first impressions twist. Something everyone can enjoy!

I  was lucky enough to wander in to my local boots straight after a re-stock last week. Accompanied by Liv, I went a little wild and she watched as my beauty basket piled up. Suffice to say I found some real goodies in that pile. Loves came in the form of a certain concealer and cream eyeshadow from Maybelline and the leaves were kept to a minimum with the L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper taking the lead.

Maybelline The Eraser Eye Concealer (Light)
Maybelline Colour Tattoo Leather Effect (Creamy Beige) 
L'Oreal La Palette Nude (Beige) 
L'Oreal Brow Artist Plumper (Dark Brown)
L'Oreal Infallible Lip Liner (701 Stay Ultravoilet)
Maybelline Colour Drama Velvet Lip Pencil (140 Minimalist)

After all that, the only point left to cover is: what do I need to try next?

The Sunday Post: Valentine Fashback

It's been a funny few weeks, after swearing I'd catch up on my life after the madness of January, February seems to be following suit. To balance things out I've taken some time out over fashion week - so I'll be washing my favourite outfits instead of wearing them. That just made the past few days sound horribly uninteresting, but feel assured that junk food and The Good Wife are being consumed on mass.

Flashing back to last week, I had a little time off from posting over the valentines day weekend in the name of quality time with the boy. We exchanged gifts, walked the small furry one, continued with our extensive DIY list and giggled over pizza express dough balls. I was lucky enough to receive the Alex Monroe bumble bee in rose gold that I've been harping on about for almost a year now. It looks gold in photos but I assure you it's the perfect rose gold colour and although it looks slightly bulky, its very comfortable, looks beautiful and is a joy to wear. There are no words to contain my glee so I'll leave it at this before I start churning out "boy did good" and "lucky girl" phrases.

Before I sign off, you may or may not have noticed (I'm not sure which one I'd prefer) that Sunday posts have been a little irregular recently. I've been struggling a little lately to whip out my camera at the right points in the week, but I'm hoping to get back on track with 9am Sunday posts over the next few weeks. Blog posts during the week will now be going live at 1pm - I'm not an early bird and sometimes making changes/giving one last proof read is difficult when posts go live pre first cup of tea...

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