So you want to start a blog?

Sunday, 26 February 2017

I started my blog in 2013 (???) and would take photos on my iPod touch and then wrote the posts on the terrible blogger app on my phone; so it's safe to say that my blog has improved almost astronomically. I don't know what made me want to start my blog, especially back then when blogs weren't even that big or influential but if you are thinking of starting now (which is a v good idea) then this post is here for youuuu. I'm going to try and make this as laid-back and easy to follow as possible and most of all realistic. I've also included bits about how I blog and what I use in case it could help those who are hesitating over joining the blog hype or even those who are already in but just want to improve etc.

my "equipment":
canon 100D
18-55mm kit lens
macbook air
iPhone 5s
twuffer

PHOTOGRAPHY:


EQUIPMENT:

I use the canon 100D camera for my photos with the standard 18-55mm lens. I'm perfectly fine with this camera and lens although you can definitely branch out and improve lenses if you want (I've heard that the 50mm lens is fab) but for now, I'm pretty happy with what I've got. You definitely do not need to use a DSLR, you can just use your phone to take photos but just make sure that you have natural light and that you do not over edit your photos otherwise they will look grainy and low quality overall. If you are looking to get a DSLR then my recommendations are: the canon 100D as it's very easy to use and much smaller and lighter than others, canon 700D as it also has a flip out screen and the nikon D7100. Although they're not the most affordable, a good camera is going to prove really useful throughout your blogging journey and it's a great investment. I don't really use a tripod but if you're into taking flatlay photos or maybe even shooting your own outfit photos then it would be a pretty sensible option.


EDITING:

I only ever take my pictures in natural light mainly because a) I can't afford studio lights and b) I genuinely prefer photos taken in natural lighting to those taken in artificial light. I hardly ever edit my photos, I just use the editing software that comes with my MacBook and tweak brightness and contrast of the photos and that's all. I tried using photoshop but I just couldn't be bothered with all the fancy settings and adjustments tbh, if I have to colour correct a photo that's the only time I'll use it. When I upload my photos onto my blog I need them to be at the largest they can be 'original size' as I personally can't stand small photos uuuuhh. When it comes to outfit posts either Ambra or my sister take them for me. As I mentioned, natural lighting is the way to go however if your time is limited (especially when it comes to short days) then do buy some soft box lighting. I know a lot of bloggers pair up with someone and buy the softboxes (which usually come as two) so they pay half the price and take on each! Also, a really quick and easy editing software to use is 'picmonkey' which is equally as useful when it comes to making your blog header. 


SOCIAL MEDIA:

My phone is crucial for when it comes to actually promoting my posts, I usually share the link on twitter a few times and post about it on my blog instagram too (@_monochromedaisies) I can never be bothered to actually do this though so it only happens when I'm on my blogging hustle. I've been using the instagram stories feature for everything blog related and I'm actually loving it. It allows you guys to see the real person behind the blog as I sometimes just talk to the camera about anything sooo yeah, go and follow to see what I'm like ;) Pinterest is a good place to start, make sure to pin some of your blog photos and link your post to grow traffic. Twitter is perhaps the most blogger friendly platform, join lots of blogger chats, make friends and share your posts! I'll leave a link to the blog chat calendar here. Every Wednesday and Sunday there's a blogger promo hour which is where you can share your posts with others and gain new readers, it's really helpful and so convenient. Also add your blog to bloglovin, it's the main platform for bloggers to publish their work and allows people to follow your blog through it being as GFC is basically dust. Another useful resource is Google Analytics which is what I use to track the statistics and numbers part of my blog. With that being said, don't stress over numbers too much (I know a lot of people say it's not all about the numbers but that's so idealistic...we are all motivated by the numbers in some way.) However do not obsess over them, remember Hitler had millions of followers but Jesus only had 12. Okay that got religious.


STARTING THE BLOG:

My blog is hosted by 'Blogger' which I find is the easiest to start with as it's so simple and practically ready to use from the start. I've still got the 'blogspot.co.uk' but I'm not really ready to invest in a proper domain and I'm thinking of a blog name change in the future anyway... i quite like the lowkey-ness of not being self hosted. For blog templates, less is more. I remember my first ever blog template was the pink ethereal template with a hideously garish header, it was so bad buuut lucky for you there are so many free templates on the internet- just download them and upload them to your blog. My current blog design is completely free, I downloaded a simple template and then edited some of the HTML to make it into what it is now. If you must buy a template then go for Etsy, you can find some really cheap ones there. Most importantly you need a design that isn't too distracting and noisy and one that is responsive, especially on mobile. Make your header simple and not too animated, add a photo of you on your sidebar along with a small description. Add an archive too so your posts can be easily navigated through and never forget an about me page and contact me page. With your about me page always try to make it as un-autobiographical as possible otherwise you'll bore everyone...and please spare us the "Welcome to my little corner of the internet" line because it's cringey and overused. Make your contact me page as straightforward as you can, brands and other bloggers visit the page to find your email address and other social media platforms they can contact you through, nothing more. 

CONTENT:

Now for the actual blog writing, arguably the most important part of a blog, I don't really do much. I never plan blog posts and hardly ever pre-write them, I just write them on the day I want to post, so I don't know how to help there. I just write in the way I think -this sounds so typical- I find a lot of blogger's say this but they all sound the same lol. There are barely any blogs that actually are totally unique to me, unfortunately. Also, please don't force it, honestly we can tell you're trying too hard through your writing- it just sounds unnatural. Always remember, do not do the most (ugh urban dictionary it) Anyway yeah I'd just say write the way you genuinely want to write, keeping everything original, and then you should be fine. 

What do I write about tho? I don't know, it's up to you mate. Your content does not have to be one dimensional, write about whatever you want. It is your blog. Don't feel like you have to have a niche, when I'm asked what I blog about I just say "I don't know" because I honestly don't and that's fine. I would give you a list of blog post ideas but they're all so generic and typical and I want to spare you from that. I think a good first post is one featuring some of your favourite photos (yours or other people's- just give credit) and then talk about why you like them. Not only will your first readers have cool photos to look at, by wrtitng about each photo you're revealing a lot about your personality, your likes and dislikes...all that stuff. Nearly forgot to mention a blogging schedule. Scrap that (I only say that because I always forget to post on my designated days) It's so stressful feeling like you have to post every ____ so just post when you want :-)

and most important of all...
mentioned this before but don't write to fit into the typical mould of what we are told a blogger should be. admittedly, I've made this mistake since I started and it's a massive regret of mine. read more about my realisation regarding 'niches' in my post here

best of luck,
Dalal 🌵              
             
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ootd | easy does it

Sunday, 19 February 2017


Who said fashion had to be hard when it's as easy as 1, 2, 3?

Exactly what I'm wearing, three items of clothing (well the ones that you can see ha) which form a substantial outfit that I think I'll definitely be repeating for the next few months. I'm all for basic clothing in basic colours simply because of the endless possibilities there are when it comes to outfit combinations, plus it just makes everything so much easier: black jeans, grey jumper and black platform loafers or even a simple pair of trainers can be formed with just a few minutes of thought. This is a good time to mention that everything I'm wearing is from zara, some old, some new. Onto the outfit.

This grey sweater has my heart, it's so soft and fluffy and the black stitching detail on each side is always nice to break up the grey-ness. The shape isn't the most flattering, I must admit, but aren't boxy cuts and bell sleeves 'in' anyway? Pulling this over on a cold morning makes Monday just a little bit more bearable- oh how I love clothes that double up as duvets.

Another item that shares my heart with the fluffy jumper are these black ripped jeans which I've worn so much, the rips has started to rip in the wrong places...that doesn't stop me from wearing them and I'll probably stitch them back up soon. They're a staple piece for me and are worn almost daily until my mum screams at me for having so many jeans yet only wearing this pair. Then I have to alternate buuut you get the gist.

You thought I'd be wearing my vans old skool's with this outfit didn't you? Well you thought wrong, I'm boujee now. I bought these leather platform loafers from zara and they were a bargain, £15.99. At first I was slightly hesitant about how much wear I would actually get out of them but now I can't imagine certain outfits with out them #truelove. Only problem is that when I wear them I'm approximately 6" however I can't really blame the shoes for my lankiness can I.

What are your favourite items of clothing and why? What do you think about when you get dressed in the morning?
-Dalal

*note to self: put down your phone when taking outfit photos* 

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makeup "organisation"

Friday, 10 February 2017

Lo and behold, here's a post explaining how I store stuff I barely ever use. how fun!

My makeup "collection" is not extravagant at all, in fact it's pretty basic and the majority of the stuff photographed barely ever gets any use (except from last week saturday when I had 15 minutes to get ready for a wedding, cried it all off due of stress, kept screaming that my lipstick didn't match my dress and my crease colour wasn't blended enough and had to do my winged eyeliner in the uber whilst random pakistani music was blaring)

small crisis

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


I'm a firm believer that everyone exists for a reason, they have an aim to achieve and once they have reached that, they have proved themselves worthy of life. If not then you're a lazy prick who's taking up all our jobs, if these bloody immigrants weren't coming into my country I'd be a doctor.

jk. just wanted to mimic some of the stupidly funny comments I hear on the jeremy kyle show...not that I watch it or anything.

I feel like my purpose is blurred. I don't think there is one. I mean all I do is use short sentences, too many rhetorical questions and am easily distracted- SQUIRREL. exhibit a. Apart from academia, do I really have anything to fulfil? Is my life solely based on getting pristine grades, attending a highly esteemed university, graduating with a firsts in some kinda Law, Social Anthropology, History, Political Sciences degree? Because if so then 'nah.' I want to see things and do things not just briefly mingle with them.

The meaning of life is different to different people, some believe that being amicable is one whilst others believe that love is the true meaning of life. From all I know, love makes you dizzy and short-breathed. Oh wait...that's asthma- my bad. No but in all seriousness, people think uniquely and those unique thoughts correlate to unique beliefs and that's what makes the world so fascinating. 7 billion people all with different thoughts on why they're doing what they're doing right there and then. A multitude of thoughts leads to a multitude of ideas which could potentially change the world. We need to encourage people to use what they're thinking and fabricate it into something plausible enough to change something in their community. No two minds are alike so we have a lot of potential that is yet to be unlocked and further explored.

Do you feel like there's something that assigns us tasks to fulfil or do you think that you set your own goal? Perhaps a divine power or maybe just magic- I love magic: the way a magician can miraculously pull a rabbit out of a hat, the way google finishes your sentences for you...I guess it's different according to your religious beliefs.

It's an age old question that even the most highly-esteemed philosophers can't answer (so I don't know what made me think I could) but it's one that is worth a try. Always think about what you want to get out of what you're doing, perhaps not in the extreme long term but maybe just in the short term. Whilst you're at in your early teens, what do you wish to achieve? Small thoughts = big discoveries, it all starts with a simple self questioning with a dash of self doubt of course.

I want to know what you think your purpose is and how you managed to come to that decision (I want real spiritual answers that makes you thiiink) 
-Dalal

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skin stuff

Friday, 3 February 2017

argan oil aveeno neutrogena gelee cleanser lush mask of magnaminty
"I hate beauty posts." she mutters as she proceeds to write about her favourite skincare products. Can I get anymore hypocritical?


Alas, I am here to share some products that have benefitted my skin greatly, these are probably the best skin care products in the UK (ok maybe I'm overreacting). Combination skin is common, hence my skin type. I find that the majority of my skin is super dry but there's one part of my face that has so many 'thin' spots which is just above my left eyebrow and that region of my forehead. No joke. The right side of my forehead is completely clear whilst the other is uh definitely not. Enough about my skin woes, I know others have it worse and that I'm just overreacting soo.


I've been trying to take a more natural and minimal chemicals approach to my skincare products. I don't use an abundance of serums, creams and gels due to the simple fact that I'm lazy and the majority of my skincare 'routine' is adapted around that. I would have photographed my moroccan black soap but it wasn't photogenic enough to make the cut so be thankful I just saved you from looking at a black, slightly viscous lump. you're welcome...

I was given the Neutrogena HydraBoost gelee milk cleanser. It's influenced by Korean skincare and also reminds me of the glossier milk jelly cleanser which I've been wanting to try out for eveerrrr but unfortunately they don't ship to the UK *criiii* It's so gentle on the skin and contains hydrolaunic acid (bio fact: this is a mainly found in connective tissues in the body, it secures moisture and is also used to renew the skin- a super-molecule) so whilst it cleansers, it also brightens :)

next is ARGAN Oil (that autocorrected to 'organ' oil...that would been weird) which kinda looks like bottled piss but ah well. Use it on your face, hair and skin it's the plug. I use two pumps, slather it on my face overnight and then wake up to soft and glowy skin. fantastic.

I've been using mask of magnaminty for so long and just as I was running out, my friend bought it for me during secret santa...I will never find myself without this mask. Completely natural with minimal chemicals it really works to calm down breakouts and smoothen the skin whilst smelling like a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream #winning.

raise your hand if you only cream the parts of your body that actually show. I only hydrate my ankles, elbows and whatever section of my skin that's exposed through my ripped jeans, shocking indeed. I've been using the aveeno nourishing lotion that I was also gifted during an event and it has been working fine, not amazing but not entirely shit either. It's incredibly gentle and the scent (or lack thereof) makes it ideal for those who are suffering with sensitive skin. The main component of this is shea butter which is one of those must-have raw products, it's great for curly hair and for the skin of course.


writing this post has made me realise why I don't like writing about beauty, I feel like this sounds really forced but I desperately wanted to share these products because they could save a life ;) 
-Dalal ⚡

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