BENQ'S WiT LAMP:THE PERFECT BLOGGER LAMP

As a blogger, light is something we all have a love/hate relationship with. On most days, it takes a while to gather everything together than needs shooting or to prepare a backdrop and then the sun decides to move to the other side of the house and you're left with nothing but clouds meaning little natural light. Is there anything more annoying? You're nodding your head, aren't you?

I have the answer to all of our prayers and I am super excited to share it with you. Let me introduce the launch of BenQ's 'WiT lamp'* which claims to give up to 150% more illumination. I've been trialling it out for a couple of months as I was indeed very sceptical that there is a lamp out there than can solve lighting problems.


The WiT lamp is actually a breath of fresh air in technology as it was designed to help people with e-reading and who work at their desktops all day. I have VERY little natural light in my bedroom/office due to having a very small window. The sun is always around the back of my house too so getting that flawless natural light can be a rather mundane task.

Coming in FIVE different colours, I chose the galaxy silver colour to tie in with my office space nicely. I decided to try it out both as an e-lamp to help me concentrate and stay awake at my desk but also as a pure white light for product photography. So how did I get on? Let's find out :-)

I was so excited to try out the WiT lamp in both ways as concentrating in a low lit room can all day can be a rather tedious task! The lamp has a heavy base which makes it sturdy as the neck of the lamp is split into two parts which moves depending on where you want to place the light. As an e-lamp, the lamp is designed to stand over the top of your laptop/desktop (like above). 

The lamp has a metal ring which only needs to be lightly tapped and the bulb turns on. The build in light sensor automatically detects how much light is needs to distribute. So, on those bright days, a warmer light may be used or a much whiter and brighter light on those gloomier days. However, next to the ring is a dial which can be turned to manually adjust the brightness and colour temperature to suit personal preferences. 



I have totally loved using it as an e-lamp and can find myself working during the evenings without feeling tired at my desk. Now it's time to tell you how it works as a white light for a small or low lit room. 

Basically, it's superb. I don't quite know how I managed to sit down and blog or take product photos without it for almost FIVE whole years?! Because the lamp can be moved and stand tall, every day I use it to blast the white light around my room/office and it completely changes the space I am working on. Instead of feeling and looking unmotivated, bleak and gloomy, my desk space looks ready to work at and fresh. The white light has been great to put above the white background on my desk for shooting products too so little photo editing is required. 


Even though the lamp is a little pricey retailing at £159 (exclusively available at the BenQ store); it's totally worth the price if you're looking for a reliable lamp that does more than simply a desk light. In the evenings, I turn the temperature down and move the lamp down so the light is much more of a soft focus around the room; perfect for watching films or even reading in bed!  It's a completely versatile product and I can't recommend it enough!

Disclaimer: The product above was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions and photographs are my own. 

THE WHITE PEPPER SS16 X BEING ASHLEIGH


Last week, an exciting email landed in my inbox from The White Pepper asking me if I'd like to style an outfit for their SS16 magazine lookbook. Obviously, I jumped at the chance and collaborated with a photographer to shoot some cool images. The White Pepper as a brand have a very particular quirky style with the raw East London aesthetic still in place; so it's been great to work with a brand who I have seen grow and grow over the years.


Photography: BARDHA KRASNIQI



SHOP THIS LOOK

The White Pepper Frayed Hem Denim Patch Culottes* 
The White Pepper Colour Block Knit T-Shirt*
LULU Black Flatform Kurt Geiger Trainers*

I know it's a very marmite outfit but I absolutely love how daring the denim is and the colour block detailing of the top!

ALSO... how cool are these flatform trainers* from Kurt Geiger?! They are from the Karlie Kloss collection and definitely transform any ordinary outfit into something a little more interesting. I was unsure what size to get as I am in-between sizes 5 and 6 in shoes but I went for a 5 and they fit perfectly. 



I'm so looking forward to seeing the lookbook in the magazine which is currently in print! What do you think of the clothes? Cool or nah?

WORKING FROM HOME PRODUCTIVELY

The one thing I am always asked when it comes to having a blog is how the heck I work from home productively. Now, I had a long, hard think about this and there really is no secret. Since my blog became my business and main source of income, I had to give myself a kick up the bum. You can't rely on your mother forever! 

Blogging to non-bloggers probably seems quite glamorous. It really must sound like all we do is tweet loads of nonsense, review "freebies" for companies and drink lots of cocktails at event. Well, they wouldn't be right (although I use the word 'freebie' very lightly. There's a hell of a lot to risk when you turn your hobby into your job. I often have to sacrifice nights out if I have a lot of work to do over the weekend (nobody wants to work with a prosecco hangover after all). Sometimes I work hard for a week straight so I can pre-plan and have the weekend off to hang out with friends. There's a hell of a lot to consider! 

One of the things I am always asked is how I turn a normal day into a productive one without falling behind due to the fact that I am at home. After all, I don't have to get a stuffy tube to the office, I don't have to buy over priced lunches and I don't come home with sore feet from wearing heels all day. 

I would say over the past 6 months, I have really learnt how to plan things ahead of my week, how to schedule things properly, how to complete to-do lists; thus having productive days 5 days a week. The truth is... there is no real secret. If you want a good pay at the end of the month, you'll choose to work hard.


Before I go to bed the previous night, I make a 'do-able to-do list' of all the things I need to achieve by 5pm the next day. I don't try to overload myself with too many things to tick off as I know they won't end up getting done and it'll result in me feeling bad about myself. I try to make sure there's a brand new task to do each hour of the day. So, if I'm working 9-5, that's at least 8 things that can be done by the end of the day!

Elsie makes sure she wakes me up at 8am on the dot every morning (weekends included, grrrr!) so I never need to set an alarm clock as I have a furry chocolate one. I'm not going to lie and say that I live a glamorous life that sees me up at the crack of dawn followed by eggs and avocado on the table as my breakfast ritual. When you're me, it just doesn't like that. Especially with a needy puppy!

After my plain toast and OJ, I shower and get ready for the day. I don't like to sit around in my pyjamas as I definitely don't feel like I'm ever in the work mode when I do that. So for me, I have to go about normally as if I really as travelling to the office. I put makeup on and comfy clothes if I know I am going to be working from my mac or XPS laptop.

I always make sure I have hot drinks and snacks on the go; especially if I am photo editing. Next is music and it's essential for me to have some upbeat and happy music blasting out. At the moment, I am loving The 1975's new album and also the weekly #ThrowbackThursday playlists that Spotify have. I find if music makes me happy, then I am in a much more positive mood to get work done. The mind works in mysterious ways!

The first thing I do blogging related is emails. I get hundreds every week which can become quite stressful by mid-week but I do find if I keep on top of them every single day, I don't fall behind as much. I try to answer urgent emails first and deal with any outstanding work that needs to be completed. I leave the less important emails or the ones that can wait till the end of the day. 

My routine every day is different and really does depends what is on my to-do list for the day ahead. Some days I will be doing a bit of everything, writing, social media scheduling, photography, editing etc. Other days, I may only film a video and write one blog post. However, I do find that if I have the to-do list written the night before, it really helps me to distinguish the most important things that must be done the following day.

I wasn't fibbing when I said there really is no secret to having a productive day when working from home. Sure, you can stay in bed all day and feel like a marshmallow by the end of it... or you can get ready and take on the day ahead. As long as I have my geeky to-do list plenty of snacks and some funky tunes playing in the background, I'm well on the way to having a good week!

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Dell. However, all words, opinions and photographs remain my own. 

#LANZAROTECOOK OFF - SPANISH PAELLA


It's not every day that you are challenged to cook up a Spanish storm in the kitchen, is it? That's what happened this week when the people at Thomas Cook Airlines asked me if I would like to cook a Spanish meal using a traditional slab of Lava Rock. Errrr, yes please?


A few bloggers have been put to this challenge to win a week's holiday in Lanzarote. I've been to Lanzarote once a few years ago and it was great - as was the food, of course. So, the blogger's recipe with the most votes from YOU people wins! So be sure to vote for me if you really love me. I would take you all with me if I could so it's the thought that counts, right?

Okay, let's get on with the recipe now shall we? I'm sure that's what you're here for anyway...


'Succulent chorizo, prawns & chicken are mixed together with Spanish paella and more than enough paprika to create a true fiesta in the mouth!'


I ordered everything I needed using the Sainsbury's home delivery service which was super easy! Before we get onto the ingredients needed, let's heat up our lava rock. Mine was kindly sent to me for the purpose of the post but it's available from Lava Rock Cooking. It makes cooking meats a whole lot easier (and slightly more...entertaining?) so I couldn't wait to get started.

For a scrumptious Spanish paella; you will need:


  • 600ml chicken or vegetable stock (2 cubes)
  • olive oil
  • 125g (4oz) chopped chorizo
  • 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion
  • 3 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 2tsp paprika
  • 250g (8oz) Spanish paella rice
  • 4 medium chopped tomatoes
  • 75g (3oz) frozen peas
  • 250g (8oz) fresh cooked prawns
  • handful flat leaf parsley
  • optional: chopped lemon wedges for presentation
(Saffron strands are recommended for a classic Spanish paella, however I didn't use any and it came out just as good!) 


Firstly, it's time to prepare the stock. I went for chicken flavour and have never dealt with stock cubes before so I was a little confused at first. However, I worked out that 600g would be around 2 cubes. I let the 2 cubes melt into a jug of boiling water and simmer whilst I started on the chicken...


After heating up the lava cooking rock in the oven (and being VERY careful when handling it when hot), I started by cooking my chicken breasts. Immediately, they began cooking and it made handling chicken a little bit more fun. I usually get so grossed out cooking chicken breasts! It didn't take long for them to cook at all!


Next it's time to cook the chorizo! With a little heated oil in the pan, chorizo literally only needs a few minutes to cook and can burn very easily so don't leave it for too long! Next, I added the chicken, paprika and frozen peas. Then in goes the rice! Almost immediately, start adding in the chicken stock liquid that's been simmering away all this time. You might not need it all but if the rice starts to burn or get quite 'thick' or 'sticky' then add a little more. 

Finally, in go the prawns! I have never worked with prawns before so definitely had to seek some advice from my dad. Do you wash them? How do you know when prawns are cooked? So many prawn related questions!


I definitely added a lot more than the recommended amount of paprika but it all comes down to personal taste. I love a bit of spicy food as does my dad so I added a bit more to really give the chorizo and chicken some flavour! 


For presentation, I added the flat leaf parsley and cut up some lemon wedges for people to use for some extra flavouring before consuming. I feel safe to say that my first ever paella went down an utter treat and not one spoonful was left in that gigantic bowl!

I thought paella would be quite challenging to make but it was actually pretty easy to make and even easier to eat so I'll definitely be making it again soon! 

If you fancy helping my dish win the competition, I'll leave this space below to add the widget so you can all vote for mine! I would absolutely L-O-V-E to jet off to Lanzarote and consume paella every day of the week so you know... help a paella loving girl out?! Hehe!



Disclaimer: This post is a competition entry collaboration with Thomas Cook Airlines. As always, all opinions and photographs are my own.

BLOG UPDATE: KOTRYNA BASS BLOG DESIGNS

Being Ashleigh has had a lick of paint and I'm so excited to show it all off to you. 

Firstly, let's talk about the blog design queen who kindly designed my blog for me. Ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you Kotryna Bass. A blogger, web designer and entrepreneur, I have known her for quite some time now. I have purchased a few of her designs over the years but this one is definitely my new found favourite! 

Here she is.. the web design QUEEN! Make sure to check out her blog too as it's absolutely fabulous and one of my most regular reads! 


#MYVIP - WIN A 2 NIGHT LUXURY HOTEL STAY & MORE WITH PANASONIC!

Another post co-starring my little chocolate button. She is getting so big isn't she? Elsie is now a week away from hitting 4 months old and I can't believe how quick it is going. I've been looking at the very first photos I ever took of her and she looks like a little sausage!

So, what's new in the world of Elsie? She has now started going for walks and she LOVES running around. I haven't decided to let her off the lead as she gets very distracted by other dogs and birds... I literally dread coming across birds in the park!


9 MAKEUP TRICKS FOR THE RED CARPET LOOK

*Guest Post // images via GettyImages

Obviously, stars put a lot into looking the best that they can, especially for award shows. However, the tricks used by their glam teams are pretty straightforward and simple to do. 

Whether it is something as small as using a fresher shade instead of an old-fashioned eyeliner color, or something tangible such as using eye creams and hydrating moisturisers on the skin prior to putting on makeup, we are always surprised by these professional tricks. 

Continue reading in order to learn the exact techniques and products that make-up professionals use to give the celebs free makeup samples ready for the red carpets of the Oscars, Grammy's, SAG Awards, and The Golden Globes. You can almost guarantee that these tips will positively transform your grooming and beauty routines.

In order to achieve a modernised cat eye; give navy liner a try instead of black.


LONDON FASHION WEEK READY WITH MIDORI

London Fashion Week is now over for another season. I have a lot of different opinions about LFW. Sometimes I love it and am really motivated and other times I would prefer to just catch the shows on  blogs. 

However, this season I had some freelance work to get on with so the lovely people at Midori sent me over a surprise care package. Inside the box was a survival kit packed full of bits that would come in handy whilst in London for one of the craziest week's ever.