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A blogging resource is a dime a dozen these days - the internet is littered with posts about how to start one, maintain one, grow one and even make a living from one - it's no secret that blogs are a hot topic.

So rather than crowd you with more generic advice, I thought I'd nudge some books (study geeks 4 lyfe) that've helped me in refining my content this year. These aren't directly to do with blogging per se, but each have a strong steer on guiding you towards creatively expressing yourself and your identity visually. I think so much of what we do as bloggers is closely linked to self expression and staying inspired, so it can really grind your gears when you're expected to produce content and coming up empty. That was my experience, certainly in the earlier half of the year. I'm feeling a lot more refreshed and eager now, and I think a large part of that is down to these reads. I hope they work for you too!

IF YOUR PHOTOS ARE 'BLAH': Capture Your Style by Aimee Song: Probably the fluffiest and the most obviously related to blogging, this guide to visual expression on Instagram was actually really useful in 'nuts and bolts' ways - iPhone photography, rules of thirds, grid-setting etc. - as well as visually inspiring. Aimee has a very genuine, wistful 'voice' in her photography and it's hard not to be put into an aspirational headspace as you turn the pages of this coffee table book. I particularly loved her sections on travel and food photography. I also really appreciated her tips on how to take a good selfie and outfit photo, as someone who is a permanent phobe of having their photo taken for Insta! If you're looking to up your game on that platform, as well as improve your eye as a photographer in general, pick this one up.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO STREAMLINE AND SIMPLIFY: The Curated Closet by Anushcka Rees: I don't know if any of you guys ever read/followed Anushcka's blog Into Mind, but you should take the opportunity to follow her new self-titled offering now. As a blogger, she's the gateway drug into capsule wardrobes and minimalism - she has such a strong voice and aesthetic in her work that a book feels like a very natural next step. This isn't just another 'blogger turned author' offering - make no mistakes, this is a handbook/workbook, taking you through the process of curating your own sense of style, and collecting together inspiration to make your wardrobe a happy place again.

I've got some more specific thoughts on the book, the method and the minimalist wardrobe, but those are for another post - for these purposes, let me just emphasise how thoroughly this asks you to question your own style. I've fallen prey to trend-led dressing and being a little bit of a 'follower' in the past, but through working with this book I've started to really consciously think about what I wear and what it says about me. Getting what you want to say right, from your dress to your work, is a form of personal branding. I'd strongly recommend this book if you're looking for that kind of 'voice'.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR BLOG IS SAYING: How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone: Visual identity and branding, I guess because of what I do for a living, is one of those topics I could talk about and geek out on for hours, so let me just say this - you won't get far with blogging (if you want to pursue your blog as a business) unless you've got a hold on your brand. This book will help you find it if, like me, you're struggling to articulate it. Fiona goes in depth into personal and professional questionnaires, exercises and brainstorms to dig deep into what makes your business unique and carving out that space for yourself. I felt so energised by this book, and it really did get me excited to create content again. Fiona's tone is bright and cheerful but never patronising and always thought-provoking - everything you'd want out of a brand consultant. Don't skimp out on this step - it'll be so worth the time you invest once you've gotten your personal brand nailed down.

The vlog is back, there's a Sunday post again and there's just so much going on on the blog right now! I'm so happy to be able to bring you video content - this year for my birthday I was very kindly gifted a Canon G7X mark II by the fams, so I've been dying to have a play with it and get back into making videos for you guys.

I figured this recent weekend trip to Bath with my mum would be a good place to start - it was an amazing weekend, very chilled, full of good food, shopping, cocktails and giggles, and I'm about ready to go back... now. I hope you guys enjoy and if you're not already, please subscribe to the channel - there'll be lots more content coming your way this year, and I'm planning to vlog our trip to Rome in September which you won't want to miss! For now, enjoy this longish watch and here are some of the places we loved in Bath:

Bath Holiday Rentals - where we managed to get our amazing flat very last minute - No. 10 Hamilton House. The location was perfect, it was so nicely decorated and well appointed and felt just like our very own home away from home. Couldn't recommend them more!

Sally Lunn's Buns - A bit of an institution in Bath but I can't say I was mad on them - the sweet 'toppers' were better than the savoury 'bottoms' for me - try the lemon curd.

Hunter & Sons - We came here for brunch in the gorgeous, tucked-away Milsom Place and loved the airy, beautifully decorated interior and their seriously delish coffee. The staff were really knowledgeable and friendly - one thing I would say is the avocado, bacon and poached egg was delish, but there was too much avo for my liking (sacrilege, I know)!

Cosy Club - I don't know what it is about chains that makes bloggers balk but I bloody love this place. Cheap and yummy cocktails, great food, and their locations and interiors are always so. cool. I will keep looking you up, Cosy Club!

Swoon Gelato - There are no words to profess my love to Swoon. First in Bristol, then in Bath, my experience here has always been stellar. Their flavours are inventive, well-balanced and absolutely delicious, and the texture of their gelato is always thick, creamy and decadent. I absolutely love Swoon and if you're ever nearby one - run, don't walk.

 

July was a month all about travelling, from minibreaks to family holidays, I was all over the place and rarely out of a suitcase.

Most of what I used regularly had to be compact enough to fit into my travel make up bag, which has become this Glossier pouch (I know, you can say it - basic). So this really is the cream of the crop for me - everything I need to take my tired face from blah to beauts.

As July was a somewhat sunny month, I stuck pretty religiously to my It! Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC cream with SPF 50. I use the shade Light and blend it in with a Beauty Blender, doing those little quick bounces all over my face, and making sure to blend into my neck and ears. What I end up with is a seamless, lit-from-within but matte finish on the face, that really does look like skin. It works really well for me for everyday and office make up.

Now that I've repurchased my NARS creamy concealer in Vanilla, using this every day is a joy. There's nothing like a fresh restock of your favourites, is there? This brightens up my undereyes like nothing else and blends out like a dream. If t'ain't broke, right?

My MAC eyeshadow palette has been a solid favourite for so long now, but let me talk you through how I use the four shades. Satin Taupe is my go-to for more smokey evening looks, or a wash of strong colour on the eyes if I'm going for a more 60s mod look in the office. Soba is an incredible olivey/gold-y shade which looks amazing if I'm doing a brown-toned lip for a strong 90s vibe. All That Glitters is my every day, lifesaver shade. If I don't want to think about my make up, this is what I've got on my eyes. And finally Saddle, which I use through my crease if I want to deepen any of the looks above and give a little more dimension to the eye. I adore them all - still, even now. And yes, I did DROP MY PALETTE AND CRACK TWO SHADES. Sobs.

The Cover Girl Clump Crusher in Black is the best everyday mascara I could recommend - separating, lifting, not clumpy at all and very awakening to the eyes - this gets me through early starts at work and makes me look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

A funny little gem of a product is the Bite Beauty multistick in Almond - I love using this as a cream blush, but I equally loved it as a lip stain, although it was a little drying for my tastes. It blends beautifully though and does do a great job of creating a natural flush and even a teeny bit of contour to the cheekbones. Fine by me gurl.

Finally, this lipstick. Oh Charlotte Tilbury, how you understand me. You understand that I want a my lips but better colour that's going to camouflage to my perfect nude, but also make my lips look fuller and plumper. You know I want a matte finish that's going to stick around, but it smoothly applied and comfortable to wear. And you know I want dat shiny, heavy rose gold packaging. I can't say anything bad about Pillow Talk. It is my perfect everyday shade. Thank you, CT, for getting me.

What has made your everyday make up cut lately?


Hello, my name is Tamira and I'm a stationery addict.

These kinds of hauls are my modus operandi, so I'm sure I'm not surprising anyone with this baby haul today. I visited Papersmiths in Bristol recently (papped here on my Instagram), and basically found my own personal Nirvana, so I wanted to bring this fantastically styled store to everyone's attention, and shout out the pretties I got.

I'm a long-time fan of The Gentlewoman and have been meaning to pick up the Sophia Coppola edition for a while now - I spotted this and Kinfolk, both being regulars of mine and both being the last copies on the shelves. It was kismet. One of the things I love so much about both of these, aside from the hugely aesthetically pleasing look and feel of them, is the pace of how they read. A lot of women's monthlies or glossies have quite a fast-paced, shouty feel to them. Everything on the page is competing for your attention and spending power. Because the focus of these magazines isn't solely commercial, there's a lot of white space and a lot of breath around the content. It's like a three course meal rather than a quick bite from McDs. Both are fine in their own rights, but one feeds your soul.

I'd like everyone to know it's possible to fall in love with a notebook and I have found my One - this Appointed textured notebook is going to be my blog and freelance bullet journal lite. I'm not sure I'm quite ready to commit to a BuJo just yet but I figure with the squared pages in this I can give the basic system a try and see if it works for me. The weight, feel and paper quality of this make it such a joy to use. Highly recommend!

And finally, perhaps most excitingly - we are off to Rome! So of course, I had to pick up the millennial pink adorned Wallpaper guide to the city - irritatingly, I do want the little collection of these in all of their Pantone colours, lined up on my bookshelf. I just am a marketer's dream, aren't I? Such a sucker for a beautiful spine.

Anyway, that was all from my whirlwind trip around Papersmiths! If you're visiting Brizzle or you're anywhere near Box Park, they've just opened an outlet in London and I would NOT be missing out on all the paper-y goodness, if I were you. Just look how cute their totes are!

Well that was a cute little disappearing act I did, huh!

If you're still out there - thank you! - and sorry that July ran away with me. Historically, it does have a tendency to do that. My birthday, family visiting, wedding season and weekend plans with friends mean that I do tend to let things get a little hectic during July, and now I find myself in that strange position of saying 'somehow it's August!'. Here we are, and what a tumultuous start this month has had already in the UK. With blustery winds and rainfall likening more to mid-autumn than late summer, August has been a little confusing already. But! I'm optimistic. We're heading into another month with a long weekend (yay!), more Game of Thrones (double yay! are you guys loving it?), and the last little hurrahs of summer weather (I hope?). August, I won't give up on you, if you don't quit on me.

Here on the blog, I'm excited for what the content calendar holds, and I've also given the place a little refresh - I'd definitely outgrown the old layout and I'm hoping this new look heralds in some of the exciting plans I've got for TGG. Keep your eyes peeled!

But for now, let's get into making plans and what to look forward to this month - isn't this the best part?

SEE: I'm ridiculously excited to be seeing Dunkirk this Sunday. I'm sure it's not going to be an easy watch, but Christopher Nolan is one of my favourite directors and the fact that the soundtrack is Hans Zimmer again is just top notch. Expecting all of the Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy feels all over again. Plus Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy is maths I like.

LISTEN: I've had a couple of things on repeat this month but the new HAIM album is a bop (this cover is freaking genius) and I've been obsessed with The Story of OJ, too. To all the people lucky enough to have seen Frank Ocean this summer: I hate you and am eternally jealous.

GO: One marked on my 'to visit' list this month is the stunningly beautiful Sezincote House - have you ever seen such a pretty building? It really reminds me of the Royal Pavillion in Brighton and the gardens look absolutely incredible. Also, if you're in my neck of the woods, don't miss out on the complete Insta opportunity that is Cotswold Lavender.

EAT: Random but true, these Graze Honey & Oat protein bites got me through some very testing food drought inducing family trips during July. I don't know where I would have been were it not for their delicious, energy-giving properties. They also survived a total downpour in my open bag, and weren't even slightly soggy. Win.

DRINK: New to me, but has anyone else tried the Skinny Colada at Bills because HOLY TOLEDO that will get you lit up like a Christmas tree on minimal calories with added pineapple-y coconut-ty deliciousness. Two thumbs up. Also on my scrummy list this month? Bluebird Strawberry Lemonade tea. Unmissable.

WEAR: I am lusting after nothing in the way that I am lusting after this beautiful sundress for my holiday to Rome in September. I just want to flounce around feeling like Audrey Hepburn. Is that so much to ask?! Also, Mad Men bingeing with the bf has meant that I'm totally obsessed with Joanie Clothing. Full review incoming, but sneak preview: Fit? 10/10. Quality? 10/10. Style: 10/10.

READ: My mum is preddyyyyy sneaky and bought me Artful and How To Be Both by Ali Smith for my birthday (thanks mama!) so both of those are on my 'to read if I get a spare 5 seconds' list.

THINK: This month's word is going to be joy. I want to live a month trying to get as much happiness and gratitude as I can out of my every day. I'm sure it'll be a challenge to put cynicism on the back-burner for a little while but I don't find it helpful when I'm trying to get a lot of personal goals reached and looking forward positively. Let's see how it pans out!
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