How I Created My Blog – Name, Header, Signature and Tone

Name

I chose Vamp It Up Manchester as a pun on the expression Camp it up. I’ve always been quite alternative and a bit vampish over the years with my style, hair, films, TV and music and my attitude in general. Why be boring when you can Vamp It Up!

My social media is Vamp It Up Mcr which got confused with an abbreviation for My Chemical Romance a few times initially. That was cool because their fans were my type of people anyway.

Header & Signature

I found it really difficult to decide on a image for my blog header that reflected everything my blog was about and my blogs branding in general. As I run a lifestyle blog based in Manchester, covering street style, street photography and local events I choose one of my photographs of Manchester.

Three years later my blog had evolved to feature many international brands and it had many more international followers. I also wasn’t going out and about around Manchester as much anymore, even though I was still featuring local eateries. For my blog header I chose an image of rain on a window at night, which my camera had snapped by mistake. It was a quirky little accident but the rain looked pretty glittering in the street light. I love anything black and a bit gothic/rock but I also love anything sparkly and glittery so it just happened to be perfect! It also inspired me to use this πŸ–€βœ¨ as my signature.

Tone

For a few years I struggled with the tone of my writing. Trying to hard at being a writer I suppose. It came across as professional but cold. I realised the solution was to include more, well…me! I started including more personal posts, writing more in my own voice and being proper honest and having a laugh.

I think it really helps to bring your personality to your blog, after all it’s YOUR blog. Every blog needs decent editing and styling of course but people want to read blogs by people they can relate to on some level.

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

My Lifestyle Tips for Healthier Skin

A few months back I set myself a challenge to get healthier skin in just one month and I achieved it! Here are some general lifestyle tips, which have helped me to keep my skin healthy (along with that skincare regimen) since.

πŸ–€ Cutting right down on foods which don’t agree with my digestive system for better gut health, like dairy and gluten (making sure I found suitable replacements).

πŸ–€ Imagining I’m a big pebble in a river and letting the water (life’s stresses and problems) pass around and over me, while I remain stable and steadfast, rather than shaken up and disturbed. There’s a certain amount of ‘ What will be, will be’ attitude to this in order to not worry about or wring yourself out trying to get the ‘perfect’ outcome. The deep furrow in the middle of my forehead has actually relaxed and I don’t get indigestion from stress or feeling anxious anymore.

πŸ–€ Keeping up my water intake and my salt intake so my body absorbs and uses the water properly, rather than it going straight through me.

πŸ–€ Using a gentle cleanser (at least once a day) which includes T-tree oil to balance my skin and keep any blemishes at bay.

πŸ–€ Realising when my skin is de-hydrated and needs moisturiser or dry and needs oil.

πŸ–€ Still getting takeaway but from places that use a large range of freshly cooked ingredients like Eastern/Asian takeaways or including healthy mezze/tapas/a big salad with any junk food type meals.

πŸ–€ Keeping my hair fastened back off my face when the front pieces are dirty or oily. Not touching my face and fringe as much. Washing my hands more often.

Simple but affective! What do you think?

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

20 Tips for Living a Greener, More Sustainable Lifestyle

TIPS ON LIVING A GREEN LIFESTYLE

  1. Recycle/Upcycle
  2. Reuse/Repair
  3. Buy organic
  4. Reduce plastic consumption (use wooden/fabric/glass/metal alternatives)
  5. Avoid single use plastic
  6. Support independent companies
  7. Buy local produce
  8. Campaign/fund raise for wildlife and nature
  9. Drive an electric car or cycle or use public transport
  10. Use cruelty free and natural skincare, selfcare and household products
  11. Buy from and donate to charity shops
  12. Sell quality items on Depop and donate the money to smaller charities
  13. Use fabric tote bags for shopping
  14. Grow your own veg (growing a little tomato or chilli plant or regrowing veg ends like lettuce on your windowsill counts)
  15. Avoid fast fashion as much as possible
  16. Get clothes altered and learn how to hem and use darts to alter size/shape (fairly easy but makes a huge difference).
  17. Buy your electricity and gas from Good Energy/Ecotricity
  18. Use the phone provider Eco Talk
  19. Turn off the light when you leave the room
  20. Wear another layer, rather than turning up the heating

Just do your best and don’t stress!

πŸ’šβœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ’š

Frida Kahlo Beaded Earrings from Sour Cherry

I bought these gorgeous Frida Kahlo earrings from an independent shop called Sour Cherry (which also stocks handmade jewellery by Wilderness). The jewellery is designed and hand made by Kayleigh, Katy and Ana and the designs are quirky-cute! You can visit Sour Cherry online as well as visiting the shop in Afflecks, Oldham/Tib/Church Street, Manchester.

Such thoughtful packaging ^_^

They’ve stated that they will not be restocking these so you better get them while stocks last!

πŸ–€πŸ’ChrissieπŸ’πŸ–€

I Try Plant Menu, No Steak Bakes from Aldi

PLANT MENU, NO STEAK BAKES – ALDI

The pastry was the nicest flakey pastry I’ve ever had. Maybe vegan pastry is the way to go for everyone. Generous filing and nice texture. The flavour of the filing was so rich, with red wine and tomato, I felt it would have been better as Bolagnese sauce! This Northern lass prefers her pasties/steak bakes to taste of plain ole’ gravy. My bloke was well impressed however. Shame it wasn’t gluten free but you can rarely have everything.

Rating 4/5

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

You Know Those Items That Seem Perfect in Theory…?

Here’s a dress that was perfect on paper for nights out but just didn’t work for me in reality.

THE GOOD

1) It flattered my tummy 🀰🏻

2) It was above the knee

3) It was strappy

4) It had a low neck 🍈🍈

5) Very cool print πŸ‘»

THE BAD

1) It was actually too big on the bodice even laced at its tightest so it felt like it was wearing me!

2) The neckline managed to bury any hint of cleavage (quite a feat!) πŸ™…πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

3) The thick skirt sat stiffly on my knees, so I’d have preferred flirty, black netting that length instead. Cyndi Lauper/Gwen Stefani style

4) The grey tone drained all of the colour out of me πŸ§Ÿβ€β™€οΈ

I actually felt pressured to wear it because I’d been told that I looked β€˜classy’ and β€˜grown up’ and β€˜so fancy!’ and I’d been looking for a dress so long. But as soon as my Bloke saw me in it he said β€œGreat dress but it’s not you is?” “No it’s really not!” I was so relieved he’d recognised that.

LESSON LEARNED

Always trust your instincts, and wear what makes you feel, like your most confident and true self. Never feel that you have to do it justice. Return it, gift it, donate it to charity, sell it on Poshmark, just don’t put up with it!

What items have you bought that you thought would look great but just didn’t work and why?

πŸ–€πŸ’ChrissieπŸ’πŸ–€

Daily Gratitude Challenge – Home Sweet Home

This is meant to be a daily gratitude challenge, created by Suzie Speaks but being the sporadic wench that I am, I’ll be dipping in and out of this so I’m not numbering the themes. I’ve also added categories so it wasn’t one big long waffle as I’m sure you know how much I like to wa….

Home Sweet Home

What style I’m rocking at home

No matter how much lovely ‘loungewear’ I own (including oversize cardigans) 80% of the time I wear a long dressing gown draped around my shoulders, cloak style. So I’m grateful I can do this at home.

The neighbourhood

It’s a mix of races and nationalities and has a much lower crime rate these days. There are independent takeaways, hairdressers and ‘bit of everything’ shops, with one small suburban shopping centre of chain stores and charity shops. Ooh, I like that as the tittle for an indie song ‘Chain stores and charity shops’.

Where is my home?

I live with my Dad but also spend time at the blokes and my Dad spends time at his Missus and then we both spend time at home together. There’s two floors so we still have our own space and he does top-up shops for me. I hate washing up, he doesn’t mind. He hates vacing up, I love it! We watch Dragons Den, The Apprentice, The Voice, Great British Bake-off and shout enthusiastically at the telly. I’m greatful that when their paths do cross, my bloke and my Dad get along well.

Yard or Garden

There’s a tiny but lovely back yard which is full of flowers, which I am so grateful to sit out in on a nice day or just to look at from the settee.

I moved to Cheadle Heath

Just as the 2008 (?) recession hit and many companies went into liquidation. Working as a temp came in handy…until it didn’t and I had to move back home. I still had a few good friends and I met the bloke a week later so it didn’t feel like I was stuck at home. I usually get a cab or bus into town (only 15 mins) from my blokes to go to gigs or for nice meals out.

The neighbours

The top of the street is like a little community where the neighbourhood kids play out together, which really reminds me of the street in the 80’s. At the bottom (my bit) there are more private people. A few usually give me a big smile and a wave and I’m getting better at recognising them out of context (a common Aspergers thing), like when we are at the local shops etc.

As usual, whoever wants to join in with this idea, please do!

How does this differ from your home and neighbourhood?

πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

If I Could Only Use One Skincare Product…

  • It would have to be the Comfort + Hydrate MICELLAR CLEANSER from Neal’s Yard Remedies!

    Why?

    • Easily removes makeup and cleanses skin.
    • You don’t have to rinse it off if you are in a hurry.
    • It’s certified organic
    • Packaged in an easily recycled glass bottle (I love the look of them lined up on the window ledge).
    • Kind on sensitive skin
    • Skin is left feeling soft and replenished
  • What is your hero skincare product?

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    The 90’s Blog Tap

    I knew I had to join in with this tag when I voted for it on Heather of Just Geeking By‘s Twitter poll. Great idea to let your readers vote, Heather!

    Favourite TV Show

    Queer as Folk, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, My So Called Life and Footballers Wives. Lots of box sets on VHS. I was a teen for the majority of the 90’s so I’d love anything that was ‘cool’ or ‘mint’.

    Favourite 90’s Song

    One cassette single I remember being played on repeat for an entire six week school holiday is Trouble by Shampoo about two girls in their late teens missing the night bus home.

    What’s Going On by Four Non Blondes, Stay by Shakespeare Sister, then later a load of Happy Hardcore, Gangsters Paradise by Coolio and Breathe by The Prodigy.

    Favourite TV Add

    It has to be the famous Guinness beer surfer advert with the awesome track Phat Planet by Leftfield.

    NSYNC or Backstreet Boys

    In the UK it was Take That or East 17 (I preferred the latter but new all the words to every TT song) and then later Oasis V’s Blur (I went with Blur as I realised Liam Gallagher was/is a bit of dick. Alex James from Blur seems to be a bit of a snobby tw@tt though so, whatever).

    Did You Collect Anything Back Then

    Garfield stickers and shag bands (skinny rubber bracelets and if one broke it was meant to be a sign you’d get a shag soon – they were not intuitive AT ALL).

    How Many Tamagotchis Did You Go Through

    Two. A cute little dinosaur which turned into to a Tetradactyl and flew off the screen! I couldn’t be arsed with second and kept loosing it but people kept passing it on until it’d get back to me!

    Favourite Video Game and Console

    Sega Megadrive and Sonic the Hedgehog or Streets of Rage.

    Favourite Cereal/Free Toy

    Wallace and Gromit figures, I managed to get Shawn the Sheep, Gromit the dog and the evil penguin by getting my Mum to stock up a years worth of cereal, ha! I think she was as chuffed as me when we found Shawn.

    Who Was Your 90’s Crush Growing Up

    Mel Gibson – don’t judge, he was fit in the Leathal Weapon Films! Oh, and Christian Slater and Bruce Willis.

    What Was Your Fave Disney Channel Movie

    We were too poor to afford a Sky dish.

    Disney, Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network

    I watched Sky at my mates after school. No idea what channel/network it was on. Pinky and the Brain, Anamaniacs, Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Sharky and George and Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sister Sister.

    Weirdest Fashion Trend

    Back to the shag bands again, no erm, Halley Hanson sailing jackets. WTF were teenagers from a rough inner-city school doing wanting these!?

    What Were Your Fave Toys You Would Play With

    A little Boglin (I made mine all punky with loads of piercings), a giant slinky, those smiley sunflowers with arms and legs you won at the fair and ‘plushies’ when they were just called ‘soft toys’.

    Fave Early Morning or Saturday Show

    Before school the nation would watch The Big Breakfast with Chris Evans, Johnny Vaun, Denise Van Outten and Paula Yates (and that chemistry laden interview with Micheal Hutchens from INXS). Live and Kicking was on a Saturday with Philip Scofield and a young John Barrowman as the Hollywood reporter.

    Favourite McDonalds Happymeal Toy

    I was grossed out by the texture of dead animal until I was 14 and even then only liked chicken nuggets but I do remember getting a mate (who’d just started working there) to pinch me a rare Rugrats chunky blue watch, haha!

    Favourite Book

    I hate horror films so naturally I progressed from Sweet Valley High to POINT HORROR! Teachers Pet and Freeze Tag were wicked!

    What Would You Watch When You Got Home From School

    Blue Peter (the days of Matt Baker trying boxer-size or Connie Huq jumping out of planes SAS style), then while eating our tea on our knee, would be the The Simpsons and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with my Mam and Dad.

    What Is The One Thing From The 90’s You Wish Were Available Today

    My posse of around 12 mates, which included friends of friends that I was (nearly) always happy to see. They never singled me out as ‘the weird one’ even though I struggled so much with what I now realise is Dyspraxia, Autism and Hypermobilty Syndrome. They never asked how I could somehow be ditzy and witty or adventurous and clumsy all at the same time, they were just accepting and patient. I met some of them a few years back and they have changed…a lot -_-

    Tag Your All It!

    Anyone who wants to join in with this tag please do, seriously please, I love reading these things.

    This has been so much fun and has really challenged my memory, seeing as I drunk copious amounts of alcohol every Friday night through most of my teens, I think I did rather well!

    Which answers do you relate to….?

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€

    Unpopular Opinions Makeup Tag

    My lovely friend Heather from Just Geeking By tagged me in this a while ago but because my iPad has decided to put the keypad right in the middle of the screen so I can’t see what I’m typing!? So I have to use my laptop for blogging, (which I keep at home) on days I don’t have brain fog.

    Popular Makeup Product You Don’t Like

    Brow kits. Unlike Heather, I have found shades which work for me (usually more ashy tones, oddly) but the wax just isn’t strong enough. My brows grow along and downward. I had to brush them through with hairspray on a spooly to stop them looking like Hagrid’s! I’m so glad I wear glasses now which cover them, and eye bags too.

    Popular Makeup Product/Brand That Everyone Else Seems To Hate But You Love

    The Body Shop. I’ve used their products since I was 12 in the 90’s and still rely on the Lipbalm from their Hemp range, everyday. I didn’t buy from the brand during the time they were owned by L’Oreal.

    Yes, it can be annoying having their reps creep into your DM’s but I don’t consider them to be one of the aggressive and greedy MLM’s that screw over their reps (which is bigger concern for me).

    I’m staying out of the whole JK Rowling debacle on both sides.

    Makeup Collab You Didn’t Like or Weren’t Interested In

    I have to agree with Heather on this one, I’m not that interested in who has designed the product as long as what it does, works for me. I really like Soph from Soph Does Life but I didn’t rush to buy her makeup because I have far too much makeup already.

    Popular Makeup Step That You Never Do

    Primer as it clogs my pores terribly. Stupidly I don’t use eyeshadow primer either, even though I have very oily lids, then wonder why my perfectly blended makeup looks muddy after half an hour. Yup, I need to buy some!

    Popular Beauty Influencer You Don’t Subscribe To/Watch

    People like James Charles as I think their unnatural look and the amount of layers they use is more along the drag side of makeup. I prefer to still look like myself, even with a full face of makeup on. No shade thrown to anyone.

    Popular Makeup Product/Brand That You Dont Use/Support Anymore

    Max Factor, L’Oreal because they STILL disgustingly test on animals (and sell in China). They also buy up cruelty free brands (simply to get the competition off the market), with no intention of becoming cf companies themselves but they still profit from well-intentioned shoppers who don’t want to support cruel companies.

    Makeup Trend That You Have No Interest In Trying

    Cut-creases. I know they are more of a wildly used technique than a trend these days. My skin is so soft (because of Hypermobilty Syndrome) and I have such little space between my eyes and brows that’s it’s almost impossible, unless I used a dark, narrow, almost graphic line. I tend to graduate colour sideways along my eyes and then go upward at the edges.

    Makeup Product That Worked Better In Theory. Either Swatched Better or Worked Better On Others Than You

    All over illuminator under/over foundation, specifically Charlotte Tilbury, Hollywood Flawless Filter. It showed up ALL of my flaws! If you already have very even, smooth skin with tiny pores then it will make you look even better. If you are like me, it will throw the textures and different depths on the surface of your skin into stark contrast with each other, oh and settle into your pores too. Gold pores – awesome.

    So let me know what you think of this post and if you want to join in then please do!

    πŸ–€βœ¨Chrissieβœ¨πŸ–€