I feel like the days of doing a cheeky ol' Rafflecopter on the blog and asking people to follow you on every single platform and put in all of their details are dying a little bit. Now, Twitter and Insta giveaways are taking over. You just have to click a couple of buttons and BOOM, no fuss, no fiddling, you've entered. I for one find them so much simpler and more tempting to get involved in.
I've done a few little Twitter giveaways now and I find that they give my following a really good boost. I mentioned in my post on using spreadsheets that I track my stats for each month; the months in which I've done a Twitter giveaway always have a much bigger spike in following than the months in which I don't do one. I always give my fellow bloggers an RT on their giveaways now that I've done some, as I know how frustrating it can be to get a low amount of them, and how useful one RT can be in spreading a chain of potential new followers.
When I did my first giveaway on Twitter I was a little bit lost, and anxious. I didn't know how I'd go through everything, and pick a winner, or what to include in the tweet, or how to go about it really. What if one hundred people got involved? I could hardly pick names out of a hat for that many!
First thing's first, you need a good quality photo of the giveaway prize. More people get attracted by a well-laid out photo than one that's dark, grainy and a bit plain. As people scroll past your tweet, they need to be drawn in by it, and be able to tell exactly what they'll be winning with a quick glance.
Writing the tweet is something I always find a lil' hard with the 160 word limit. Make sure you include the date/time that the giveaway will be ending and whether it's an international giveaway or not. This way no one gets confused, or enters your giveaway when they might not have a change of winning. I usually try to tag the brand's handle in the tweet too. Remember to disqualify quoted tweets, as it makes it so much harder to pick a fair winner at the end.
Promoting your giveawayis something that I find useful to do once a day or every other day. You can RT your own tweets now, and still reply to them. This helps it pop back up onto other people's timelines. Similarly, if anyone comments on the giveaway, make sure you reply to them, as again it brings it back onto timelines.
Picking a winner is the part I was most lost about, but it's actually really damn simple. I use this website which lets you input a tweet URL and it'll pick a random person who retweeted it. If it picks a giveaway account or yourself then you can simply regenerate a new winner.
Contact your winner within a day or two of the giveaway ending, and put out a tweet to let people know that the giveaway is over and who won it. Simply ask them for their address and send their prize over. I always ask the winner to tweet me when they've received their prize and let me know if they enjoy it!
I hope this was useful to you! I've also got a Twitter giveaway coming up in the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled.
I have some big news: in six weeks I'm heading to Davenport, Florida for a fortnight. And yes, this means I'm totally heading to Disneyworld. I've alluded to this in a few blog posts in the past month or so, so some of you may already know this. What you won't know is that I'm able to go because my mum has offered to take me and my partner as well as my sister, and a couple of our family members are coming along too. My parents divorced just under a year ago, and with that break up came a house sale, so mum decided to do something positive with what came out of all that negativity.
I would never have been able to afford a holiday like that on my waitressing salary, but there are still some fees that need to be dealt with. We need pet boarding (the hamsters and the bunny can't be left to their own devices for a fortnight!), travel insurance, ESTAs (visas), and my uncle recommended bringing £1000 to cover all food costs, days out, anything we want to buy, etc. My first reaction to all of this was 'holy shit'.
Me and my partner moved into our first home (still rented, I'm only 22 and that student loan is looming) in November and needed to furnish that. Then came our first year hosting Christmas for both of our families, and all the expenditure involved in that. So, I started saving at the beginning of January, which gave me almost exactly three months until we travel. Again, with the 'holy shit'. I spent the last week of December creating an action plan of how I was going to save the money I needed to, without having to resort to eating only beans on toast every day. Here are the tips that I've come up with:
Buy a budgeting planner
This thing is the first thing I started off with and it was a total eye-opener. My one comes from That Lame Company, and you can find it here. You write down exactly what you spend, and on what for each week. You set yourself a spending target for the week, and calculate how much is left over at the end of it. You can then see how much you've saved out of your budget each month.
This has really been important for me. It shows exactly where my money is going, and was quite shocking in some respects. I could see how much I was wasting on things I really could be doing without, and it showed that all those little trips to maccies or cheeky wine nights really added up to be quite a bit of money.
Decide where your priorities lie
Once I could see exactly where my money was going, I could decide where I wanted to cut down spending. Eating out, or ordering in was proving to be a MASSIVE expenditure for me. I work lates a few nights a week, and the temptation to pop into KFC or Subway as I walk past at 11pm is sometimes a little too tempting, especially if I only have food that requires effort in the house. I've now upped my weekly food shop spending a little so that I always have food that's easy to make and eat in the house, and almost cut out spending money on takeout. This has made a huge difference to my weekly spending, and was something that was easy to do once I thought about it.
No spend months are just so miserable in my opinion, and I always end up splurging as soon as the 'no spend' period is over. I really don't want to do this at the moment, so I've continued to buy the odd treat, or thing I need.
I budget for my bills and my pets and the food shopping first, as they're the necessary things in my life. I know I'll always need to buy them. These are my top three priorities, so I know I can't stash away the money that I spend on them for the holiday.
Write down things you want to buy
I'm an impulse buyer. It's true. I'm that person that gets sucked into adverts and just wants to buy products as soon she reads about them on a blog. Writing down things I want has been so helpful in dealing with this. It forces me to question whether I really want to buy the item. On my list recently have been: getting a gym membership, buying lampshades for the house, buying a Liz Earle cleanser and getting some chicken wire for the garden (to stop the bun from digging). I've now got the gym membership as it's the thing that's most important to me, and the others will just have to wait for a bit.
Buy a 'smash only' money box
This one seems a bit backwards. Why buy something in order to save money??? But, it has been so helpful. As I'm a waitress I get a fair few tips coming in. Usually these go on bus fair, little maccies adventures, or just things that I fancy in shops. My tips are where the majority of my disposable income comes from. These pay for days out, meals out, trips to the cinema, etc. At the beginning of January I bought a hella cute money box that you have to smash in order to get any of the money out. Since then, as soon as I've gotten any tips I've put them straight in the box. I won't be able to get them out again until I smash it just before holiday, so there's no temptation to take it out for anything, because I just can't.
Save your side hustle
Anything that comes in in the way of blogging, or the freelance editing I do for an academic journal goes straight into my savings for the holiday. This way my main wage goes towards all the necessary expenditures of life and I can keep the rest for a holiday. If you don't have a side hustle, then have a cheeky scour of Pinterest, as there's tonnes of suggestions of things you can do on there. I found People Per Hour through it, and though it takes a while to get into, I have made a little bit of extra money with it.
Spread out the holiday costs
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there's a few things we need to buy even before we leave to go on the holiday. Leaving them all to the last minute is usually my jam, but this year I've gone for a different tactic. We're going at the beginning of April, so I sorted out the bunny boarding to be paid at the end of March, the ESTA I paid out in January, and the travel insurance we did a couple of weeks ago. I effectively made a list of all the things I needed to buy, or spend money on, and made sure that they wouldn't all hit my bank account in one go.
Have you got any exciting trips planned this year?
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Rimmel's lip ranges. They're affordable, easy to pop on and wipe off and are always on 3 for 2 in Superdrug, or at least it feels that way to me! But Rimmel liquid lipsticks? Well I've simply never tried one.
I've been a little spoilt with liquid lipsticks, as I didn't get to the game too early, and so the first brand I tried was NYX. They are just fab at bringing out well pigmented, long lasting lip colours.
Rimmel's Provocalips range* comes with the tagline '16-hour kiss proof lipstick', so a couple of days I decided to put this to the test.
I put the lipstick on at around 11am. Unlike most normal liquid lipsticks, there are two parts of the formula. You put the pigment on, wait a minute for it to dry, and then put the clear layer over the top. This makes it a glossy lip colour, rather than anything creamy or matte. I would have preferred a matte look, but it was nice to try something different for a change. The doe-foot applicator made it easy to apply as well.
2 hours in:
As I was spending the day at home, the lipstick didn't come up against any weather challenges. It did however, have to face a big ol' cup of green tea and a few glasses of water. So far, so good. It didn't transfer onto either my cup or glass. I usually find that liquid lippies are all good until moisture hits and then they transfer like a bitch.
5 hours in:
I had leftover paella for lunch, aka the tastiest meal ever, but not the cleanest to eat. After a mammoth bowl of it, my lipstick was still high, dry and in place. The only thing I noticed was that it had started to wear on the inside of my lips. Basically if I pouted, you could tell it was starting to wear, but without that? Nada.
7 hours in:
This is where things got REALLY shaky. I decided to put the 'kiss-proof' aspect of Rimmel's claims about it to the test. After a cheeky lil sesh with the boy, I was left with hardly any lipstick on, but it didn't transfer onto him. It seems to have disappeared into the ether of our smooch. Now I was left with the outer ring of my lips coloured, but not the main bulk of them. The one good thing was that it did stay smudge proof. This is when I would normally have re-applied the lip colour.
16 hours in:
I didn't remove the dregs of the lipstick before going to bed. When I woke up the next morning they were still there, and the lipstick had settled into the crevices of my lips a little.
All in all, it did last much longer than Rimmel's lipsticks normally do. It was smudge proof, water resistant and food resistant. But kiss proof? Not so much.
I vlogged the day so that you can see how it looked over the course of the seven hours, and I'd love it if you gave it a watch!
Have you tried this lipstick range? What did you think?