The places you NEED to try in NYC

Hey Everyone,

I hope you’re all enjoying the summer weather! If you’ve been following me on Instagram (@Little.Miss.Expat) you will know that I’ve been spending the past few weeks around the East coast of the United States. So far I’ve been to Washington D.C., New York, Newport, and I just finished a summer school course in Boston. I learned so much at the course, and I can not wait to share a lot of it with you guys! I’ve absolutely been loving my time in America so far, and I’ve come across so many hidden gems that I want to write about! So I decided to put together a guide to some of my favourite places in New York City, and if you like it, perhaps I can do some more for the other cities I visit this summer.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York quite a few times, but I don’t think I had ever experienced it to the full extent that I did during this trip. I LOVED it. As I’ve said, I love being around nature, but I’m also a city girl. I’ve grown up in two large and bustling cities: London and Dubai. So it’s no wonder that I enjoyed the experience of being in New York. I stayed in SoHo, which I think is the most ‘happening’ and alive neighborhood because there are so many cool things close to there! Before we arrived in New York I had a rough idea of all the places that I wanted to visit while we were there. But I discovered so many more during our trip! In this post, I’m going to share all of the interesting places I visited with you guys. Obviously, there are many more spots in New York to visit, but these are the ones I’ve personally been to and would recommend to you guys.

Cha Cha Matcha

You guys know I am a matcha addict! I’m not a huge fan of sodas or coffee, but give me a matcha latte and you’ll win me over!!! I had seen Cha Cha Matcha all over Instagram before I went to New York, and it had always been on my list of places to try. And let me tell you it was not disappointing… they had every kind of matcha drink you could think of. I decided to get the matcha soft serve ice cream, as I wanted to try something different, and it was soooooo good!

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The Matcha Bar

So this was also another matcha place which I loved! What is it about New York and all these matcha spots??? They had a window bar on Crosby Street, where you could place an order for any kind of matcha infused concoction or sweet treat, and enjoy it on a bench outside.

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Dig Inn

So I discovered Dig Inn for the first time this summer and I am so happy I did. It was delicious! I’ll always opt for a local and fresh option if there is one, and Dig Inn was so convenient for this! Basically, they cook up a bunch of options daily that you can create your own bowl out of. Such as rice, grilled vegetables, salmon, etc… It’s a nice option when you need something more filling than a salad, and you’re out and about.

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By Chloe

I had read about By Chloe before coming to New York, and I was intrigued to try it. It’s an all-vegan restaurant, but their food is just as adventurous and delicious as any other place. I was surprised to find myself eating a burger, fries, and Mac & Cheese that was all vegan and tasted so good! It was definitely an experience, and it sold me on eating more vegan options in the future.

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Completely vegan!!

Sweetgreen

Sweetgreen is one of my all time favourite places to eat at when I’m in America. If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically the best salad restaurant you will ever go to. You can pick one of their options, or make your own salad with their fresh ingredients. I also love getting their iced jasmine tea along with my salad.

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Jacks Wife Freda

So I had heard so much hype about this place and naturally, I wanted to go check it out! Let me tell you the rosewater waffles were AMAZING. The one I went to in Lafayette was quite small, so be sure to be ready to wait or get there super early if you want a table.

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The Butchers Daughter

This little breakfast spot was sooooo cute and is fully vegetarian (and has lots of vegan options). We went to the location in Nolita which had plenty of outdoor seating for a nice summer day, and the food tasted really great!

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Sadelle’s 

If you’re going to try one of the breakfast spots on this list, it should be this one. IT WAS AMAZING. They are known for their bagels here and let me tell you, they do not disappoint. According to my sister and dad, the smoked salmon here is the best they’ve ever had, and I personally loved their breakfast potatoes. It’s in a super trendy setting, and the breakfast options are all so fresh and taste great.

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They’re well known for their bagels, and there’s a reason why…

Georgetown Cupcake

So I’ve been to their stores in Georgetown, NY, and Boston because I absolutely love their cupcakes! They’re so light and fluffy, and they have a lot of interesting flavours. I would totally recommend checking out the store, but be ready to queue as it gets super busy.

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Dean and Deluca

So technically this is a deli, not a restaurant, but I would definitely still keep it on my list! On nights where everything was busy in NY, my family and I got a selection of salads and snacks from Dean and Deluca and had a little feast in the garden. I like how they have daily dishes that taste really great, and they’re convenient for anyone on the go.

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So that wraps up my eating guide to NY, and all the places I tried that I would definitely recommend. I hope that you try some of these places, and let me know if you do! Also comment down below what your favourite eating spots in NY are as well!

See you soon!

Little Miss Expat

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How to take the BEST flat-lay photos

Hey everyone!

I hope you’re all having an amazing summer so far! Since you guys enjoyed my last photography guide so much, I decided to write another one specific to flay-lays. People are always asking me how I take my flat-lay photos, and, in my opinion, they are the hardest photos to get right. There are so many aspects that go into making a good flat-lay shot, and I’m going to take you through them today as well as giving you my specific tips and tricks.

If you haven’t already read my last photography guide, you can find it here. I am no professional photographer, but these are all the of the tips I’ve worked out through experience, which means that you don’t have to be a photography genius to get the ‘perfect flat-lay’. These tips can be useful for a beginner, or just anyone who wants to up their flay-lay game.

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Getting the background right: I think this has to be the most important part of taking a good flat-lay photo. After all, in a good flat-lay you want to focus on the subject and have a nice clean background (you can have props), but you don’t want the background to be distracting. Unless you live in a house with lots of pretty background areas, there are some tips you can follow. Sometimes I’ll use my kitchen counter as a background, but other times if I’m doing a photoshoot, I’ll want something different. At first I used to try taking photos on a rug, or on my bed, but they just kept turning out creased. So… I came up with a genius solution. If you take a roll of wrapping paper and lay it out, you can get any color background you want, no need to spend lots of money, and you probably already have wrapping paper at home. For my Evolve Beauty post I took the photos on a roll of brown paper, and for my Travel Essentials post, I took the photos on the white side of wrapping paper. If you get into photography more seriously, you can invest in a blogging board. I actually asked for one for my birthday this year, it’s from Soularty, and I’m so excited to use it for lots my flat-lays and photography posts.

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So here’s my best flat-lay hack: Use a roll of wrapping paper as your background, you can use any color you want, and it’s really cheap and simple.

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The big question: Should I use a tripod? So, before we get into this question let me just clarify, in my opinion, there are two different types of flat-lays: The ‘on the go’ flat lay, where you’re taking a photo of food in a restaurant or something like that. And then the actual ‘scheduled in’ flat-lay that you can design, decorate, and take at home. In this post, I’m only going to talk about the ‘scheduled in’ flat-lay, but obviously if you’re in a restaurant, ‘on the go’ you’re not going to take a whole tripod with you. But when you’re at home, you do have the option to use a tripod. Like I said in my last photography post, if you’re just starting out with photography, I wouldn’t invest in a tripod until you’ve worked out if you need one or not. Personally, I got a tripod about a month ago, and I have found it really useful in taking photos, but it’s not necessary. I’ll insert some examples of photos I took on a tripod, and some by hand, so you can compare them side by side.

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Using a tripod

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Taken without a tripod

 

Telling a story in the photo: I think this is the tip that gets overlooked the most often when taking flay-lays. Sometimes the style you’re going for is minimalistic, but you can’t just have white backgrounds, and one subject in the middle of the photo, every single time, otherwise your photos will get boring. Instead, try telling a story with your photo. You can use props to try and create a vibe for your photo, and make it visually appealing. If you still want to go for that minimalistic, delicate photo, you can try using some flowers or petals in the shot. Just anything that will make the photo a bit more interesting and eye-catching. I’ll put some of my examples in below.

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You can see I’ve added in some oats and flowers around this set-up to make it more interesting and eye-catching.

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Instead of just taking a photo of flowers, I spread the leaves and petals all over the shot.

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Similarly, in this photo, I added some flowers and petals to make the shot of the products look more unique and interesting. It would have been quite boring without them.

Lighting & Shadows: So this is the make or break factor in taking any flay-lay photo. No flat-lay photo looks good if it has shadows covering it, or if it’s not bright enough. I have no idea how to use professional studio lights, and honestly, I don’t think they’re necessary. But when I take a flat lay, I only use natural light. I turn off all the lights in my room and only use the light coming in through the windows. My reasoning for that being, that with artificial lights there are too many aspects to control, such as reflections and glare, whereas it’s just easier to use a natural light source. I’ll always set up my photo in an area, that is not right in front or next to the natural light source, otherwise the shadows might be weird. And I’ll take a test photo before I set down all the products in the way I want them, just to see how the lighting looks and if there are any shadows, and then I’ll adjust it accordingly.

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So there was no natural light in this restaurant, and as you can see the photos weren’t turning out well or doing justice to the food.

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Here I tested the lighting before I took the photo, and got a nice bright photo, without shadows.

How to arrange your objects: This is the thing that I found the most daunting when I first started taking flat-lays because I had no idea how I was meant to set out all of my subjects that I wanted to photograph. And honestly, it can still be a bit daunting. I think with flat-lays you have to use your imagination and experiment a bit. Something that I do before I take a flat-lay photo, is look on Pinterest for some ideas, and sketch out roughly what I want the photo to look like. I think this works well, because then at least I’m not going into to taking the photo with no idea what I want it to look like. There are also a few basic techniques that you can use: (I’ll insert examples of them below) There’s the layering technique which makes your photo more interesting with more textures on top of each other. Then you have the photo with one big subject in the middle, and lots of smaller ones around the edges. But mostly, I think you just need to mess around and experiment with the way you lay things out to get interesting shots.

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In this photo I placed my ingredients on small plates, and sort of arranged them around and on top of each other.

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In this photo, I used lots of layers by putting the clothes on top of each other, and then the leaves on top of them.

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In this flat-lay, the spoons with the spices are the focal point, and I placed all the jars around them.

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This was a more minimalistic photo, with two items on food layered on a menu.

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Here, I tried to make all the plates and dishes fit together, I think it worked rather well.

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In this photo, you have the large object, the bag, and then all the smaller products spilling out of it.

 

My number one editing tip for flat-lays: If there’s one editing tip that I would be sure to use when taking flat-lays, it would be using the skew buttons on VSCO. I edit all my photos on the VSCO app, and there are these tools that allow you to tilt your photo left, right, up, and down. Which is really useful when you’re editing a flat-lay because you want the camera to be parallel to the set-up, so you might need to adjust your tilt slightly.

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So in this photo, the difference is only slight, it’s tilted a bit towards the right, so the objects on the right seem larger than they actually are.

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I used the x-skew tool on VSCO to even out the proportions in this edit.

So these are my top 6 tips for taking photos, they’re pretty much all the tips that have really helped me with my photos. If you would like to see more of my photography you can check out my Instagram @Little.Miss.Expat I really hope that you could take something away from this post and that it helped you with your photography. If you use any of these tips I would love to see your photos! Just DM me, or tag me in your photos. Also, stay tuned on my Instagram for a big announcement really soon!

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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The Ultimate Bloggers Photography Guide

Hi Everyone!

Today I am so happy to share my most requested blog post with you guys. I’ve had people asking me for this post for a long time, and I finally had time to write a super long and in-depth post that will hopefully be worth the wait! This post is all about my blogging photography, and some of my tips and tricks.

I’ve always loved photography, I find it so interesting how you can snap a moment, and have that photo to look back and remember that exact point in time. For a long time before starting my blog I had been taking photos, but I just didn’t have anywhere to put them. That’s why when I started my blog, one of the things I was the most excited about, was finally being able to take photos and have somewhere to share them.

To be completely honest, I am no expert in photography, I don’t take lessons. But I think my photos speak for themselves. Most of the tips and techniques I use, I have pretty much taught or worked out myself. I would love to learn more about photography in the future, so if you have any good recommendations for photography blogs or online classes be sure to leave them in the comments!

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This photography guide will include all of the tips I’ve been using in my 1 year of blogging, and I will go through each style of photo that I take, and how I take them. However, if there’s something that I don’t cover in this post, feel free to leave it in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

What Equipment Do I Use?

Okay, so first up, the most important thing before I get into all of my tips and tricks. What kind of equipment do I use? Like I said, I’m not a full-time photographer, so I don’t have all the fancy equipment. I think for a blogger it depends on what kind of photos you take, and then you can decide on what equipment you’ll need. Honestly, I think you realise what you need as you go along and see what you’re missing. For me, I started out with a DSLR camera that I had from before I started my blog, the Nikon DX VR. And I assumed that this is what I would use to take my photos. But really as I started getting into blogging I realised that it was much more practical for me to use my phone to take photos if they were on the go, and I only really used my DSLR camera when I scheduled in a ‘photoshoot’ which I’ll talk a bit about later.

When I’m taking photos for a specific blog post, or I have some products I need to get in a shot, for example in a flat lay, then I will use my camera. But, for most of the photos, you see on my Instagram (@Little.Miss.Expat) they are things I see as I’m walking around, or restaurants that I’ve eaten at, and I don’t really take my camera with me when I go out, so they’re taken on my phone. I do have some tips for getting good photos on my phone, which maybe I can write another blog post about if you like this one?

Recently I got a tripod, and that’s something that I’ve found really useful when I’m taking flat lay photos or product shots. My tripod is a Rollei tripod, and it’s super handy because I can pack it up to be really compact so I can take it with me when I’m traveling if I need to. But to be honest, for a beginner photographer, or a blogger who’s still working out their niche, I wouldn’t say that having a tripod is essential. If you find yourself doing a lot more food photography or product photography, then I would invest in one.

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One example of me using my tripod to take photos for my Travel Essentials post.

Planning My Photos

So something that I usually do, if I know that I’ll need a photo for a specific post, or some general ‘blogging b-roll’ (which I’ll explain later) is set up a photoshoot for myself. I’ll usually sketch out what I want the photo to look like in a notebook where I keep all my blog post ideas, and I’ll look on Pinterest for some inspiration. I also keep a folder of photos on my Instagram that I save as I see them, for inspiration later on. If it’s a photo with myself in it, I’ll decide on the ‘vibe’ for the photo, and pick out an outfit that I think will compliment it. I usually get one of my sisters to take the photo if I’m in it, and I either get them to stand in the shot first, so I can show them want it to look like, and after they take a photo we keep looking back and adjusting it to get the photo to look like the one I planned. I also pick out a few props for photoshoots, I don’t have a set collection of props, the things I use in my photos are usually things I have lying around, such as books, plants, flowers, glasses etc… But one thing to remember is that these photos that I get from a scheduled photo shoot, are usually specific to one blog post, and not really the ones you’ll see on my Instagram. Here are some examples of photos I’ve taken from planned photoshoots.

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What’s ‘Blogging B-roll’

Okay so this is actually something I made up myself, I’m not sure if other people call it this. But when you shoot b-roll for a video, it’s the supplementary clips that are extra, that’s why my ‘blogging B-roll’ is extra photos that I have stashed, readily available. I post on my Instagram every day, which, let me tell you, is not easy. And 5 out of 7 days a week I’m at school, so I’m not really going to take photos of my life that day to share on my Instagram. That’s why when I am out, I use the opportunity to take lots of photos of the things that I’m doing, and maybe I won’t necessarily use them that day, but I have them as extra photos if I need to post them one day. Things such as views, outfits, places I visit, and food, are all examples of my blogging b-roll. Here are some examples of photos I use as blogging B-roll.

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How To Up Your Instagram Photography Game

First off, having ‘insta-worthy’ photos should not be a thing you worry about. Post what you want to, and photos you love. But if you’re looking to up your Instagram game, there are some things that I would recommend you do. Firstly, take good quality photos (which I’ll give my tips on later) but no amount of editing can make up for a bad quality photo. Secondly, editing is key, but don’t overdo it (I’ll let you in on some of my editing tricks later), and if you’re trying to build a feed for your photos, I would recommend using an app like UNUM. I’ve tried lots of Instagramming apps, and in my opinion, UNUM is the best, I can plan out my Instagram feed to see how it looks, and the app also collects data from my account to see when the best times for me to post are. As a blogger who’s always looking to increase my following, knowing when to post, and when my audience will be the most engaged, is vital. I use the predicted times from UNUM, and I compare them against times from ‘WhenToPost’ and ‘Prime’, and then decide on the best time for the day.

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Onto The Tips…

Lighting is key. I can not stress this enough! In my opinion, lighting is the most important part of taking a good photo. I have no idea how to use professional studio lights or anything like that, but natural light does the trick. I’ll never take an Instagram photo at night, or in a room without any windows, because the photo just comes out grainy, or with shadows all over it. If you’re scheduling a photo shoot, or you know you need to take a photo, be sure to do it during a time where the sun is still out.

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In these photos, the lighting was just not right, and I could not get them to look better when I edited them, so I never ended up using them.

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DO NOT overdo the editing! The number of times I’ve been scrolling through my Instagram feed and seen perfectly good photos, over-edited and completely ruined is countless. With editing, less is more. I usually put my photos onto VSCO, and add a subtle filter to them, then I up the exposure and contrast a bit, and sometimes put in a colored tone. If the photo doesn’t look to promising when it’s raw, I won’t push the editing, because no amount of editing will make up for a bad photo. Editing is not a changer, it’s an enhancer, and it should be used like that.

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Learn how your camera works. When I went into starting this blog, I basically just knew how to take a photo on my camera, I had no idea how to do any kind of cool effects. Only recently did I read up on my camera, and learn how to change the aperture to blur out the background, and use the macro setting to take close-ups of wildlife.

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I used the macro setting to get this really detailed shot of a bee. 

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I changed the aperture to blur the background in this photo.

Follow the lines of the photo. So this may sound a bit weird, but one thing to consider when taking photos that you want to look visually appealing is to make the photo look simple in the eye of the beholder. So if things are lopsided and skewed, the photo just isn’t going to look appealing to the audience because, at least for me, it doesn’t look organized in my brain. If you’re taking a photo of a building, make sure your photo lines up with the straight edges, instead of looking messy and unclean.

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There’s so much going on in this photo, that if all the lines were lopsided it just wouldn’t look clean.

X-Skew and Y-Skew are your new best friends. Some of my most useful editing tools are the X-Skew, and Y-Skew buttons on VSCO. Let me explain to you the magic of these two buttons. If I’m taking a flay lay, and my phone wasn’t exactly right over the table, or my angle of a building is taken from lower down and the proportions look a bit off, I can just whip out these tools and fix it up. The X-Skew and Y-Skew buttons tilt the photos up, down, and side to side, basically it’s an instant proportion fixer. I’ll put some before and after photos below to show you exactly what I mean by this.

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Before

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After

If all fails, just try again. Your photos are not going to turn out perfect every time you take them, that’s just a fact. Sometimes I put a lot of effort into a photo, but I just can’t get it right, maybe my pose is weird, or the background is off, but there’s just something that’s not right with the photo. Don’t be discouraged, pick out specifically what you don’t like about the photo, and next time you can make sure you change that. Some of the first photos I took for my blog, I can not believe that I uploaded. If I look at the progression of my photos on this blog, I can see how much they’ve changed by picking out the small details I wanted to change as I went along.

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I wanted to take a photo for my New Years blog post, but these just didn’t turn out how I wanted them. So….

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I went home and tried again, and got these great photos.

Capture the moment. As I said, photos are something special, you’re capturing a moment in a shot. And these moments don’t come around all the time. If you see something interesting, or a shot that looks really cool, don’t count on it being there tomorrow. Just take the opportunity today, go out and take the photo, because you never know if it will turn out the same tomorrow.

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Tomorrow this may not be there. It’s better that I captured that shot when I saw it, rather than waiting. 

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Take the photo as your eyes see it. Okay so this one seems pretty obvious, but this has to be the most useful tip I’ve worked out. How many times have you seen something, and thought, wow that would be a great photo, only to take it and realise it doesn’t really look that good? One of the things I do to remedy this is put my camera where eyes are, because if I’m looking at something and it looks great in my eyes, surely if I place the camera where I was looking from, I’ll be able to get that shot. And it really works! Sometimes all you have to do is step back and reassess your perspective to get a nice photo.

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I wanted to get a photo of this really cute restaurant, but it just wasn’t turning out the way I wanted it to. So I went back and reassessed my perspective and got this!

Know where to place your subject. So this question was asked on my Instagram, and I think it’s actually a very interesting one. Most of us tend to put the subject of our photo in the center, but there are other ways to do it. I would say if you’re standing in an alleyway where your eye is naturally being drawn to the center because of the lines, place your subject there. But for other photos, if you’ve ever heard of the rule of thirds, that could be something cool to try. It basically means that if you placed a 3×3  grid over your photo, the subject would be in either the left or the right third, not the center one. This can be good to use if there’s a view behind you that you want to show in the picture, or if you want to mix things up a bit.

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In this photo, the archway draws the eye to the center of the photo, so that’s where I placed the subject here. 

Go out and search for the magic. In the end, if you use all these tips and you just take the same photos over and over again, there’s no point. Chanel your creativity into your photos, and open your eyes. I think one of the reasons I’ve been so successful with my photos, is because I can see the potential things.  I’ll see something when I’m out, and it may look like the most insignificant object, but I think, wow that would look great in a photo, and those end up being some of the best photos I’ve taken.

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Okay, so this has probably been the longest post I’ve ever written! But I had so many tips I wanted to share with you guys, as you’ve been asking how I take my photos for a really long time. If you want to see more of my photos you can take a look at my Instagram account (@Little.Miss.Expat). I will for sure do more posts like this, as I still want to share tips on how to take flat lay photos, and photos of yourself. But please let me know if you found this useful! And how about we all leave our best photography tip in the comments section so this can be a collaborative guide for anyone to use?

See you next week,

Little Miss Expat

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Clean Beauty – the guide to what it is, what to buy, and how it works

Hey guys!

Today’s post focuses on something that’s very important to me and something that I could honestly talk about for ages. As a science geek, I’ve always found it interesting to know what I’m using, for example, I find it so exciting when I look at my moisturizer bottle, and I can identify what the ingredients are and what they do for my skin. I’m also a bit of a nature nerd, as I’ve mentioned before I love the outdoors and any plants and flowers, and I find it so fascinating that these everyday plants can be crushed or squeezed in a specific way, that can cure you of your acne, or leave you with super soft skin. Every time I talk about this kind of stuff, I get so excited, and honestly, I know its a bit sad but I love spending my time researching the natural healing powers of specific plants and looking at the latest natural beauty products.

So that is why in today’s post, I want to pass on a bit of my passion for all things natural to you guys and share with you a change that I’ve made in this past year. To rewind a bit, from the time I hit age 13 I started to suffer from teenage acne, and this could of been for a variety of reasons: hormones, stress, or the products that I used on my skin, but I didn’t really know what I should be doing to cure this acne. I started covering it up with makeup every day, and I live in Dubai so I was sweating in this makeup all day long, and my skin really did not appreciate it. To just add onto this whole mess of things, I have really really sensitive skin, so my skin reacts to pretty much anything I use, and I have to be very careful. It’s been almost three years since I first started getting acne, and like most teens I’ve pretty much grown out of it. I still get some breakouts, but my skin has improved a lot because of the changes I’ve made in the past year. Not only have my breakouts reduced, but I’ve also found my skin overall looking more ‘glowy’ and healthy.

I made the switch to using clean beauty products this year, and being more aware of what I’m putting on my skin and my body. I realised that I make such an effort to fill my body with nutritious and healthy food, when I cover it with products full of toxins and all kinds of chemicals, which is kind of hypocritical. And I know, clean beauty seems like it’s all the rage right now, with more and more brands claiming to be ‘organic’ or ‘natural’, but if you find real clean beauty products, you will soon realise this whole clean beauty regime is not a fad, it really truly does work.

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So what is clean beauty?

There is no exact definition, but clean beauty encompasses a range of things. One being that the products are completely transparent about what’s inside them, and they are safe for people to use. It means that the quality is not compromised, and the main goal of the company is not to just, sell more, but to create products that genuinely work and benefit the user. Another aspect of clean beauty is that from production to usage, these products are safe to everyone, this means no animal testing, or anything that will affect the environment negatively.

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Why should I use clean beauty products?

As I mentioned before I have seen great benefits from using clean beauty products on myself, not only in clearing up my acne, but also contributing to my overall wellbeing. I don’t feel like I’m slapping on chemicals onto my skin and drying it out, I feel like I’m really taking care of myself and not compromising my health at the cost of the products I’m using. Also looking at the more environmental side to the argument, clean beauty products are much more sustainable. And yes, they are a little more pricey, but trust me with clean beauty less is more. Most products are of such good quality that you don’t need to buy heaps of cosmetics, and remember you’re spending money to improve your wellbeing. That being said, don’t just go out and buy anything that says it’s a clean beauty product, personally I spend ages choosing what products to buy and what they will do for me. I spent a really long time trying to find a clean beauty vendor that’s accessible to me, and looking at what options they have. Once I chose the products that I wanted to try, I read heaps of reviews to see if they actually worked, and if they were compatible with my skin type.

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Where do I buy my products?

I think buying products from a clean beauty specific vendor, is easier than looking at stores individually. I also read a lot of other reviews of clean beauty products so that I’m always finding more. If you live in the U.S. you can take a look at companies such as ‘Credo Beauty’ or ‘The Detox Market’ who gather a selection of clean beauty products which they curate themselves. These companies aren’t as accessible for me, so I looked for something in Dubai, but sadly I haven’t found anything yet, please let me know if you know of somewhere that sells clean beauty products in Dubai! So I checked out clean beauty stores in the U.K, and decided on ‘Content Beauty & Wellbeing’. It curates the products it sells, making sure they don’t contain harmful chemicals, while still delivering high end results. I also sometimes visit ‘Space NK’ if I’m looking for something specific. But always be sure to look into the products you want to buy before purchasing them, to be sure they fit all the criteria you want.

 

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I found this really helpful guide from Today, (I don’t take credit for making it) but it lets you see what the little icons on your cosmetics mean.

 

What do I use?

Finally! For the most exciting part of this post, what products I use!!! I’m more of a ‘natural look girl’ I hardly wear makeup, and when I do, I like to make sure that it doesn’t look heavy. So most of the products that I use cater to this, and to my skincare needs. Some of these products I’ve been using for a while, and some are fairly new, but all the products I share in this post, I’m confident to say that I genuinely like.

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Skincare + Bodywash

Tata Harper Skincare – I talked about it a while back, but I have been using Tata Harper products on my skin for almost a year now, and this is where I’ve seen incredible improvements. All the skincare products I use on my face are from this brand, from my cleanser & moisturiser, to my toner.

Evolve Beauty – I have recently started using a body wash from evolve beauty, and I really like it. I’ve tried a few different clean body washes, but this is the first one that I can fully say is perfect! It doesn’t dry out my skin at all, and it smells soooo good. Evolve beauty was kind enough to send me some samples, so you will definitely be seeing a post about them soon, and what other products I like from their collection.

Isla Apothecary – I really like using roll on essential oils as an alternative to perfume, and Isla Apothecary has a really nice one that I’ve been using.

Neal’s Yard Remedies – I also use an essential oil rollable from Neal’s Yard, in the scent ‘energy’ which is amazing.

Odacite – I am soooo excited to try more products from them, but for now I only have a serum for my face, leaves me with super soft skin.

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Beauty

Lilah Beauty – This is the first clean beauty makeup brand that I started using, and I haven’t yet found anything that compares. I use the concealer, powder, as well as an eyeshadow palette from Lilah.b and it blends into my skin so well, and it creates a really nice natural look on my skin, that I haven’t found from anyone else.

ILIA Beauty – I use a lipstick and an illuminator from here, and I really like their products, you can still look amazing, while benefitting your health!

Lily Lolo Mineral Cosmetics – I recently brought a mascara and a blush from Lily Lolo, and I’ve really liked them so far, I look forward to trying a few more of their products.

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I really hope you found this post interesting, I had so much fun writing it! As always, please let me know if you liked it. Also let me know in the comments if you use clean beauty products, and if you want to make the change. Also, if you have any recommendations for clean beauty products for me to try, let me know! And if you’re a brand that wants me to try your products, you can find all my information about collaborations here.

Little Miss Expat

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The Vienna Eating Guide

Hi Guys,

So, if you’re one of my regular readers you’ll know that over winter break I visited Vienna, which meant that I ate lots of yummy Christmassy treats and snacks. One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip was to visit Christmas markets, instead of going to the big tourist attractions. And because I LOVE FOOD, I got to try lots of different fresh and delicious street food snacks at the markets.

I tried a mix of traditional food and general street food, but I wanted to share it all with you. Here you go!

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You have got to have roasted chestnuts, they’re my all-time time favorite winter street food!

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You CAN NOT go to Austria without trying an Apple Strudel!

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This chocolate cake is traditional to Vienna, it’s called the Sachertorte… it’s a must-have if you’re visiting Vienna. 

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How beautiful do these strudels look?

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I WANTED TO EAT EVERYTHING… I’m not joking…

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In one of the dessert shops, we could see the chefs working on their cakes.

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Finding yummy snacks at the Christmas markets.

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Chocolate covered fruits and nuts were sooooo good! And it made me feel like I was being a little bit healthy.

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And of course, because it was Christmas time, I had to try all the gingerbread!

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I didn’t try this cheese, but how cool does it look?

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These sweet pastry rolls were delicious

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And of course, you can never go wrong with fries and onion rings…

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I’m literally drooling looking at this sandwich right now, it was amazing!

These are all the different foods I tried when I was in Vienna, I hope the pictures aren’t making you too hungry!! Have you ever been to Vienna, if so, what did you try? And if you could try one of these foods, which one would it be?

Little Miss Expat

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Christmas Preparation Guide – everything you could possibly need to do and how to do it

Heya guys!

Winter break has finally started for me, which means no more stressing about school (for a few days at least) and I can finally start my Christmas preparations! In my family even though we don’t celebrate Christmas religiously, we still go full out with the decorations, music, gifts, and food. I think it’s something about growing up in London, I don’t think you can live here and not be drawn into the Christmas Bonanza that’s London during the holiday season. There’s lights everywhere, a chilly breeze, Christmas music playing in every store, and everyone is bursting with happiness. It’s truly amazing.

Because I’m an organizational freak, and because there’s a lot to prepare for Christmas I decided to write a small guide on how I get all my Christmas bits and bobs sorted, and where I like to buy my gifts and decor etc…

What Music To Play:

Would it really be Christmas without the sound of sleigh bells and cheesy Christmas songs? I don’t think so. I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m guilty of listening to my Christmas playlist all year round. I know, I have no self-control when it comes to Christmas songs, but they always put me in a good mood and make me want to dance along to them. Am I the only one? Here are some of my favourite songs that I think you HAVE to have on your Christmas playlist:

  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  2. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid
  3. Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
  4. Santa’s Coming For Us – Sia
  5. Last Christmas – Wham
  6. Mary’s Boy Child / Oh My Lord – Boney M.
  7. Baby It’s Cold Outside – Idina Menzel and Michael Bublé
  8. This Christmas – Chris Brown
  9. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
  10. It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
  11. I’ll Be Home – Meghan Trainor
  12. Sleigh Ride – Carpenters
  13. It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
  14. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Michael Bublé
  15. Holly Jolly Christmas – Michael Bublé
  16. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra
  17. Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
  18. Driving Home For Christmas – Gavin James
  19. Christmas Lights – Coldplay
  20. Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens

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What Decorations To Use

Decorations have to be one of the most important aspects of Christmas for me. I love designing and putting together cute displays, so I am totally in my element with Christmas Decor. Excluding the Christmas Tree (which I’ll write about separately) I think that decorating your Christmas dining table is very important. After all, this is where you spend a lot of Christmas Day and you want it to look nice. I like to get small items to put on the table, as well as to put out if we’re having people around for snacks. I’ve been collecting little bits and bobs for the table for a while now and here’s what I’ve got:

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Also, you can’t go wrong with lights, the more the merrier! We put them up everywhere and I think it adds to the whole festive atmosphere. Here are some pictures of how I decorated our Christmas Table last year:

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Finding Some Christmas Inspiration

I love to spend my time browsing Pinterest and looking at Christmas tree inspiration and ways that people have decorated their houses for Christmas. I also look at some of my favourite blogs and see what they’re doing for Christmas. I love a cozy evening spent with a mug of hot chocolate and a fuzzy blanket spent ‘researching’ ideas for Christmas. Am I the only one that loves looking for new ideas and could spend ages browsing on their laptop?

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Gift Ideas

I looove buying gifts for other people, as well as creating my own wish list. I’m a big believer in giving thoughtful gifts to others. While receiving a box of chocolates or a bar of soap is nice, I think that Christmas gifs should be a little more exciting and personal. If I’m not really sure what I want I want to get someone for Christmas I like to browse some of my favourite shops for gifts. A few good places to look for presents are:

  1. Anthropologie
  2. Oliver Bonas
  3. Notonthehighstreet
  4. Urban Outfitters (gift section)
  5. ASOS (gift section)

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Making The Perfect Tree

Of course, your Christmas tree is one of the most important parts of the holiday! When we’re in Dubai we have a fake tree with decorations that we use every year because we never spend actual Christmas Day there. When we come to London our Christmas tree is a much more fancy event. We usually get a real tree, and it’s HUGE. When I say huge I really mean it, we keep it in our library which is two floors high, and our Christmas tree reaches the ceiling, so you can tell it’s big. I’m all for having a festive and ‘family’ tree but I don’t really like tacky decorations so my family usually lets me decide the theme of the tree and look for decorations. As I said, I look on Pinterest for my inspiration and themes. Once I come up with a theme, I usually take a look at a few websites and what they have for their Christmas decorations. A few of my favourite places to look at decorations are:

  1. John Lewis
  2. M&S
  3. Next
  4. Fortnum and Masons
  5. Crate & Barrel
  6. Cox & Cox (I got almost all my tree decorations from here)
  7. The White Company

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I hope this Christmas guide is helpful for you guys and your Christmas prep! Please let me know if you like any of my tips and tell me what you do to prepare for Christmas, and where you buy your gifts and decorations from!

Little Miss Expat

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