Friday, April 29, 2016

OOTD | Unicorn Vibes

kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top

kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
skinny-dip-london-unicorn-bag
kiss-and-tell-unicorn-top
skinny-dip-london-bag
Metallic-silver-brogues-asos
Jeans - New Look
Brogues - Asos
Bag - Skinny Dip London
Watch - Olivia Burton (own watch strap)


These pictures look like they could have been taken abroad, on a lovely balmy evening - the reality was that I took these straight after work, in Plymouth and I have never been so cold in my life! This definitely gives you a sense for the social media vs reality things that goes on in every bloggers life. But on another note, I'm so happy that the evenings are light enough to get pictures now as it really makes my life a lot easier, these were taken at 7:30pm wahoo! 

After discovering Kiss & Tell on Asos a few weeks ago my wardrobe has slowly expanded with their pastel compilation of t-shirts and all round cool garments! There are serious unicorn vibes going on in this outfit, and I'm really enjoying wearing super casual outfits at the moment, with some killer shoes and an eye catching/slogan tee. I love the shade of this top with the metallic transfer print on the front, it's going to be a well worn top this summer with denim shorts and skirts. I felt it was the perfect opportunity to use my Skinny Dip London bag that I bought almost a year ago and have still not used. Like most things, the sheer novelty factor won me over, as opposed to the practicality of it and whether it would actually go with anything! We've all been there though, right? I'm going to make a much more conscious effort to use it this summer, and I have the perfect excuse to use it when it goes with literally any pastel colours!

What do you think of this outfit? Do you like the Kiss & Tell range? 

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

OOTD | Blush Floral Bomber

Bomber Jacket - Primark
Top - New Look
Jeans - Topshop
Watch - Olivia Burton
Shoes* - Rocket Dog

I know what you're thinking...Not another blush piece of clothing! I literally can't keep myself away from the colour at the moment, blush is the colour of choice this spring and there's no surprise when it looks amazing with everything. Joining my collection are these Rocket Dog pink wash sneakers, honestly the comfiest shoes I have owned in a long time! The colour and contrasting white soles look amazing together, their distressed look adds to the charm of them, and they look great with light denim like these mom jeans. Rocket Dog have a really great selection of sneakers like this that are comfortable and stylish, and I also have my eye on their magic pink washed sneakers!

Bomber jackets have become a staple in my wardrobe over the last year, thanks to their practicality for spring like weather and the ability to look great with any casual outfit. This pretty floral bomber was from Primark's new spring collection for a measly £10! It's incredibly lightweight, but is perfect for that in between weather. It looks great with a casual grey top and mom jeans, and it was a match made in heaven for these Rocket Dog flats, it's love! 


What do you think of this outfit? Are you loving Primark's spring range? Do you like the bomber jacket trend?

*Products marked with an asterix (*) have been sent to me for review. However, all opinions in this post are 100% my own
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Team Behind Sleek-Chic!

Last Sunday I headed out for breakfast with my sister who kindly took some pictures for my Kiss The Boys outfit post (it was her first time doing them, I was impressed!), and it was only from a joke that the idea of this blog post came about! The team behind sleek-chic idea really made me laugh, it may be different for other bloggers depending on what you blog about, but I'm sure there's been at least one person helping you out along the way with your blog. My blog will never be a full time thing as I love my job too much, and I love having my blog as a thing that I enjoy doing in my spare time, but a lot of work really does go into my blog behind the scenes, and understandably a shoestring budget (I'll never be paying for photographers or someone to write my blog!)! I've never seen a post like this before, and this is only meant to be a funny, lighthearted blog to give you an insight into the mechanics behind my blog, and my life! I've also been blogging for almost 3 years now, so there's been a few job roles that have come, gone and evolved over the years to take me to where I am today! Let's meet the team...

The Photographer's: 

My Mum 

What would I do without my mum? I'm very lucky that my mum is always happy to take countless outfit pictures of me in a myriad of locations, rain or shine. A professional photographer could certainly not keep up with my demands! My mum has taken my outfit pictures from the word go, from a phone, to a digital camera to my current DSLR. Her photography skills have definitely evolved along the way, and she knows exactly how I want each picture to look. She never complains and is generally just the best! I am really pleased with how my photos look at the moment and it wouldn't be possible without her help on the weekends and evenings to shoot some content! She's my full time photographer, but there are the times when I need to relieve her of her duties...

My Boyfriend

Whilst I was at uni (1st year of blogging) James became my full time photographer. At uni I had a lot more time between lectures and on weekends to get some pictures and I had a readily available photographer. A lot of people moan about their boyfriend or even mum attempting to take pictures, but James has always been really good, although he snaps the pictures so quickly I sometimes don't have time to change my position! I don't think it's his favourite thing to do (neither is watching me take pictures of food in restaurants!) but he really helped me carve a little space on the internet for my fashion blog in the early stages. As we are in a long distance relationship I only see him a couple weekends a month at the moment, and on those weekends he's my stand in photographer, releasing my mum of duties for a while!

My Sister

The newest member to the team, my sister became my stand in photographer last week and I was impressed. She pandered to my every need, and didn't even complain that I asked for continual retakes - I think I would almost certainly get fed up! The reality is that to get good content, whether it's for instagram or your blog you do need to take a lot more images than is needed, as there's nothing worse than not having enough to work with. My sister and I decided that eating out for breakfast on a Sunday in different places needs to become a monthly occasion, so I will definitely be roping her in for a session once a month from now on...

The Location Manager

I definitely pride myself on finding new and pretty locations to shoot my outfit pictures at as it definitely helps to add to the overall atmosphere of the post. Again, my mum is my resident location manager, helping me scout the best locations in Plymouth that will really help my outfit pop! So much so that I put together a post on 5 of the best places to take outfit pictures in Plymouth. There are so many pretty places waiting to be discovered in Plymouth just like any city, and it's worth having someone who really knows the area like the back of their hand to help you with it! 

Among the main job roles I also have the prop scout, bag carrier (sorry Dad!) and the friends who always read my blog and let me know what they're loving, and of course, ALL of the lovely bloggers and readers that have interacted with me along the way!

Sleek-chic really wouldn't be where it is today without 'my team', as ultimately if I didn't have the help of my family or my lovely readers, I wouldn't be able to post any content at all, especially as my blog mainly focuses on fashion - I thought it was about time that they got recognised for their work too! I'd love to know what goes on behind the scenes of your blog too as I think it's so interesting to see how your blog works for you, and however big or small your blog is! 

I hope you all have a great weekend! Do you have a mini blog team too?

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

OOTD | Kiss The Boys & Make Them Cry


Coat - Primark
Jeans - Abercrombie & Fitch
Brogues - Asos
Socks - Asos
Sunglasses - Quay Australia
Bag - Kate Spade
Watch - Olivia Burton (own strap)

Last week a little bag of loveliness from Asos arrived at my house - what else was I going to do when I was stuck in bed with flu for a week? I definitely needed some cheering up, and bought some bits that I had been lusting after for a while. The top, socks and brogues being included in that! I love this Kiss & Tell top - Kiss the boys and make them cry! A childhood phrase that always runs through my head, I think it makes for the cutest slogan crop top. It was pink too, so what can I say? It's going to look really good with high waisted denim skirts and shorts in the summer (if we ever get any sun!). For now it looks good with light wash jeans, and I had to take my new brogues out for a spin. I had been after a metallic pair for a while to complete my shiny/sparkly brogue collection, an amazing pair of shoes will complete any outfit without having to try too hard. I am SO into these sheer socks at the moment too, especially letting them peek out of your outfit slightly, I love the candy coloured dots on these, they're just the cutest. Again, it's another pretty pastel outfit from me - and don't worry there's more of that to come this spring!

What do you think of this outfit? Do you like slogan tees? Do you like the current sock trend?

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

How To Use Google Analytics Effectively For Your Blog

How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog
Google Analytics is a highly important tool that can help you analyse and interpret data to your site/blog, solve any issues, look for ways to improve your current exposure, compare data and so much more. Google Analytics should be used by EVERY business, and in my opinion every blog (almost definitely if blogging is your full time job). I started using Google Analytics for my blog a good few years ago, and I also use it every day for my job so I've gained some really invaluable skills for it along the way. A lot of bloggers that I speak to have managed to set up Google Analytics, but are then stumped for what to do next, and also what they're looking for, which is why I thought it would be a good idea to put together a blog on how you can use google analytics effectively for your blog (the basics). GA is a free analytics service, is incredibly easy to use once you know how, and relatively easy to setup, if you haven't already got it setup on your blog I suggest you to do it asap, if you're not sure how to, this 4 ways to add Google Analytics To Blogger article is really helpful. Google Analytics is 100% more reliable than blogger stats, you've probably realised by now that blogger stats are a very poor reflection, everyone who looks at google analytics for the first time will be adamant that it's broken or inaccurate because of the massive difference in stats, whilst it can be disheartening, unfortunately the GA stats are fully accurate and blogger stats are so far out because they incorporate spam and bots into the readings. If you're working with brands too they will also request analytics data over what your blogger stats are saying, and if you've put together any media packs all of this data should be included in some form in that too. Now you've got a brief snapshot into why you need analytics, here are the basics on what the information is saying, and what things you should be looking for to help you with your blog.

How To Exclude Your IP Address

This is optional, but removing your IP address from the current data flow will provide a much more accurate reflection of your data. Constantly clicking on your blog and then off from your own computer could also have an impact on the bounce rate, so it's definitely worth excluding it.

1. Firstly, find out your IP address by going into a google search and entering 'what is my IP address?'. As if by magic (I'm still impressed by this) it will come up, now copy this long number as you will need it shortly.
2. Then head to the main Admin page of your google analytics account. Click on 'Filters' on the right hand column.
3. Then click add filter, enter a name for it such as 'Nicole's location', then from the drop down list 'select filter type', select exclude.
4. Then on the next drop down box, select 'Traffic from the IP addresses' and 'that are equal to' in the box by its side.
5. Copy and paste your IP address into the box below and press save. It's as simple as that - the below picture is what it should look like before you press submit.
how-to-remove-your-ip-address-from-google-analytics

Reporting

Now we're onto the important stuff, the google analytics reporting can be a minefield when you don't know what you're looking for. You don't need to use every section in this part, as a lot of it doesn't apply to a blog. Here are the main sections you should look at, and what you 're looking for within it:

(Reporting is next to the home button on the top of the navigation bar)

Audience Overview

Audience overview is the one area that I use the most, and the area that you would look to include in your media pack as it provides a snapshot of your data, and the most important bits that a brand would be looking for. Once you are in the main reporting area, click on Audience on the left hand side to get this data up. This will take you to the main overview area which is the only section you really need to use for your blog as it provides everything that you're looking for. In the top right hand corner you can choose the data ranges that you want to look for, using the 'compare to' section is a really good way to compare the current month to previous months to see if, and how your data is improved. It will also help you pinpoint areas that haven't done as well as before and from that you can look to improve upon it. But it's no good being able to do that if you can't interpret and read the data.

Audience > Overview
How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog
On the same page you will find a pie chart on the right hand side which is made up of new visitors and returning visitors, you'll then find various subsections of data on the left hand side. Here is everything you need to know about each section:

Sessions - Sessions are a group of interactions which take place on your blog over a given period of time, for example a single session could contain multiple page views, events and interactions.

Users - This is quite simply how many different users interacted with your blog in the given time period.

Page Views - This is one of the most important pieces of information and is what most brands will ask for when they're looking to work with you (monthly page views). The name explains what it is, and this is how many different page views your blog achieved over the month - this will always be more than sessions, as again one session could involve someone looking at a few different pages.

Pages/Session - This is how many pages in the average session that someone looked at on your blog.

Avg. Session duration - And this is how long the average session time was that someone spent looking at those pages.

Bounce Rate - Bounce rate is a interesting one, and one which should be taken with a pinch of salt at times. Generally speaking for an actual ecommerce website anything over 50% should ring alarm bells, as the bounce rate is how quickly someone landed on your page and then left. However, the nature of a blog is that someone clicks on your blog, reads the article and then leaves again so the bounce rate doesn't matter too much. However, again I would say it should still be below 70%. If it's any higher there may be something glaringly obvious that is putting the reader off, an error with your blog, blog design, pictures, content, or all of them. The bounce rate gives you a good idea if people are enjoying reading your blog or not, the good news is that there is plenty you can do about it to lower the bounce rate. As I said at the start, removing your IP address is a good start, especially if like me you're always looking at your blog when you're scheduling posts and posting them.

New Sessions - This is the estimated percentage of first time visitors to your blog. 
How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog
In this section you will also find where the traffic to your blog is coming from around the world (underneath). This is a useful tool to see where the majority of your readers are coming from, but it's not something that is as important if you write a blog.
How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog

Acquisition

It's all good knowing the above information, but it doesn't tell you where the traffic is coming from, which for a blog is the most important thing to know - after all, we are all social media buffs and we want to know if our hard work is paying off and driving traffic to our blog. To navigate to acquisition you'll find it on the left hand side underneath Audience, click 'Overview' underneath acquisition. A pie chart and the following data will then pop up.

Acquisition > Overview
How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog
Incredibly important for a blogger, this tells you where all of your page views are coming from in that given time period. 

Organic Search - This is anything that has come from a listing of your blog on a search engine. The higher the organic search the better for your blog, there are a number of ways that you can improve this by employing some good SEO practices to your blog, I'll have to save that for another blog post!

Social - Basically anything that has sent someone to your blog from social media, twitter, pinterest, instagram - all of it! Bloggers spend a lot of time promoting their posts on these channels and it is often one of the best and easiest ways to direct people to your blog. Taking part in twitter chats, working with brands and promoting your blog can really help with this.

Direct - This is anyone who has gone directly to your blog with your URL.

Referral - This reports anyone who has come to your site from sources that weren't a search engine. This is generally from other blogs, sites or perhaps brands you've worked with - this will highlight how successful the referrals have been via the amount of sessions it achieved. Gaining links from other reputable sources is a great way to gain exposure and increase the overall DA (domain authority) of your blog. 

On each of these sections you can then click through to see what the top sources for those categories were. I prefer going to Acquisition - source/medium which is underneath All traffic on the left hand side to see what the top traffic sources were. As you can see below this gives you much more in depth information for each source, and what the source/medium of that was. It also tells you a lot more information about each source too, similar to the audience overview that we looked at at the start of this. Everything is quite self explanatory about this section, and the more you use it the easier you'll be able to navigate your way around it. 

Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium
How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog
Behaviour

The last section that I sometimes look at is Behaviour, which again you'll find on the left hand side. I usually use Landing pages which is underneath this section. This section tells you what the top landing pages for your blog are. A landing page is the web page which serves entry to your blog. This is really interesting to look at, and for no other reason, BUT it can provide information for how you can improve your blog content in the future. Perhaps you've stumbled upon a popular topic, employed good SEO strategies into the blog posts, was it the time you posted your blog? Or maybe it's a series of posts that you're writing that are really popular. Either way it's a good insight into what your readers are loving most on your blog. 

The / will always be the top landing page, this is your home page. Why it's not just labelled home page I'll never know but it isn't, and google is funny like that!

Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages

How-To-Use-Google-Analytics-Effectively-For-Your-Blog
Real Time

Real time isn't something that you need to use as you can gleam your static information from the other sources, but real time always fascinates me and I love to see who is reading my blog at a certain period of time, what post and where they're from. This is really easy to use, and again you can find it on the left hand side. 

Real Time > Overview

You'll probably be wondering what the other sections on the reporting tab are too, but a lot of these are only relevant if you're tracking information from a site. Everything that I have highlighted really are the main things you need to know in order to use google analytics effectively for your blog. The more you use GA, the easier it gets, believe me - there's still things I find on there now that confuse me. But don't let the complexity of it put you off as there is invaluable information there waiting for you that's completely free to use, and really is easy to navigate your way around once you understand the data and know what you're looking for. Hopefully my post has helped a few people on their mission with GA, please do let me know below if you found this helpful, or tweet me as I would love to write more posts like this in the future! 

I hope some of you found this helpful! Do you use Google Analytics? Would you be interested in more blog posts with blogging tips like this?
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