Sweet Beginnings | Hello 2018, Blog Goals & Giveaway!

1 January 2018

Hello 2018!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. It's always nice to reflect and set goals at the start of the year, and kick things off with a positive start. I was inspired to write this post by the name of the Sweet Beginnings candle* from M&J London, which I will talk more about in the second half of this post. The brand have also really kindly given one of my readers the chance to win their own Sweet Beginnings candle, so they can start 2018 in the most fragrant way possible. Make sure you keep reading to the end of the post to find out how to win!

M&J London Sweet Beginnings Candle

Blog Goals

Being consistent | That goes for blog posts, YouTube videos, and Instagram mainly, and I think that's going to help more in the stats department than setting potentially unachievable numerical goals.

Engage more with other bloggers | I've felt a little out of touch with the blogging community as of late, and I've found it harder and harder to get involved with conversations etc on Twitter, so I'd really like to get that back. I also would like to try and go to more events this year to connect with more local bloggers too.

Support other bloggers | I'm putting this in this category rather than engage, because I'd really like to comment more on other bloggers content to support them rather than to drive engagement back to my own content. I mean, that would be nice, but it shouldn't be the main motivator in leaving comments, which I feel has become the norm, especially due to things like the instagram algorithm and comment pods. I also want to share my favourite blogs more often.

Refine my content | I feel like I've made big steps in refining my niche over 2017. As well as being fragrance focused, I realised minimalism was a big part of my content, and it especially became a bit part in my YouTube channel. It really shaped my attitude towards my beauty content, having an emphasis on not wasting your money on products that aren't worth the hype. In 2018, I plan to balance my content, particularly on my blog, more equally between beauty, fragrance and lifestyle. Despite having a year of much preferring YouTube, I'm feeling really positive and excited for blog content.

Be more organised | I'm getting off to a good start as I've already planned a chunk of my content for 2018, and I have created a spreadsheet to help me keep track of PR Samples, blog posts and videos. I really hope this method will help in the long run to keep me that bit more organised throughout the year, and act as a to-do list to keep me motivated!

M&J London Sweet Beginnings Candle

Maintain brand relationships | I really want improve my relationships with relevant brands and PRs this year, and really stay on top of emails. My main aim with brands in 2018 is to work with those which are more relevant to my blog and my personal values, and I would like to get better at declining collaborations which don't align with this. I would love to continue to work with beauty and skincare brands, as well as more perfume brands, and potentially tea and gin brands too!

Continuing my minimalist journey | Of course I am making progress in this area through decluttering and minimising my purchases in various areas, but PR samples play a bit part in this as I only want to dedicate space to items I really love. I really want to put an emphasis on "would I buy from this brand with my own money?", as I don't want to accept products that I know aren't my cup of tea. Part of this ties in with my previous point about rejecting collaborations, and something I find particularly tricky is saying no to brands.

Maintaining my integrity | This is something that I felt like I did really well in 2017. I have been extremely honest in my reviews, whether its in an empties video saying I regret buying a product, or pointing out negative points in a full review. There have been times when every other blogger has given fully positive reviews of a product, but I'm glad I've been able to voice my opinions in a fair and balanced way. I really try not to give in to fear of offending a brand (particularly if it is a new or small brand!) or worse, being struck off a PR list. Be honest is so much more important. I'd much rather read a balanced review than one only pointing out the positives, as long as it is written in a professional and respectful manner.

Stand my ground with brands | Whether it is saying no to a collaboration that doesn't quite fit, or suggesting a fee, something I really want to do better is being more assertive. I don't want to be taken advantage of when it comes to fees, or follow links and I would like to be more upfront. Although it would help if brands that want do-follow links for $20, or dodgy "guest posters" didn't contact me in the first place, y'know? I recently revamped my media kit and I need to put it to good use this year!

Improve my fragrance knowledge | This year I really want to become more involved in the fragrance community and really improve my knowledge. I will be writing more frequent perfume reviews, as well as reviewing some fragrance books, and I would like to be able to speak more eloquently about fragrance (although it would help if I could actually string a sentence together in the first place), as well as improving my descriptions.

M&J London Sweet Beginnings Candle

Sweet Beginnings

Browsing through M&J London's extensive catalogue of fragrances, it is evident that most are inspired by different countries around the world, and the scents you encounter whilst visiting them. However, Sweet Beginnings is a little different. It is all about "the thrill of embarking on a new chapter in life", which is particularly fitting for the new year, in which we typically see as a clean slate, and the phrase "new year, new you" is thrown around like there's no tomorrow. Vom. Many of M&J London's candles are distinctive in scent, enveloping you in the fragrance of a far off land, but Sweet Beginnings is all about gentle comfort. Although it is one of the more subtle candles it still has a lovely scent throw, giving off the relaxing fragrance of lavender, manuka honey and cocoa. It is like a snuggly blanket, easing you gently into the unknown (in this case, the new year), as if it is telling you "you can do it!". 

I find Sweet Beginnings extremely calming, and makes for the perfect soft bedroom scent, particularly good also for sending you into a slumber because of the lavender note. Lavender scents on their own can often be a bit sharp and herbal, but this is perfect as the honey and cocoa cocoon around the lavender to create a perfectly balanced smooth, creamy scent. If you want something relaxing, but don't enjoy the typical aromatherapy type scents, this could also be a great option for you. I like to switch up my candles throughout the year, and M&J London have me covered for most seasons (I particularly love English Summer (review)and Bavarian Winter for their respective seasons), but Sweet Beginnings certainly is appropriate for all year round. It also really evokes feelings of spring and Easter, which is probably the cocoa talking!

As always, M&J London candles are available in two sizes, with the smaller (£23) giving up to 30 hours of scent and the larger (£35) up to 60. Every step of the brand is driven by their ethical conscience, and they wanted to ensure that as well as delivering a luxurious product, it is produced in the UK in the most sustainable and ethical way possible. From the packaging certified by World Land Trust, and the recycled glass jars (which you too can re-purpose as drinking glasses), as well as the soy wax used, environmental impact is minimised. That in no way compromises the quality, as soya wax gives a superior burn, and the lead-free wick reduces sootiness. M&J London also give a small percentage of the cost of each candle to UK based charity nia, which provides support to women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse.

The Giveaway!

As I mentioned before, the lovely people at M&J London have given me the chance to share the beautiful scent of Sweet Beginnings with one reader, who will hopefully love it just as much as I do! The winner will receive one large Sweet Beginnings candle, which has a retail value of £35. There are a variety of entry methods, some mandatory and some extra, as outlined in the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway will be UK only, and it will remain open from 1st January 2018 for three weeks until 22nd January 2018 23.59 GMT. The winner will be drawn at random using the Rafflecopter widget providing the entries have been completed correctly, and notified via email on the 23rd January. The winner will be given 28 days to respond, to keep it fair and in line with current guidelines. In the event that the winner does not respond within this timeframe, a new winner will be chosen. I will pass on the winner's details to my contact at M&J London, who will be responsible for sending out the prize. As always, I never discriminate against compers and you are more than welcome to enter any giveaway on this blog.

Good luck!

- This post contains PR samples (*) -


  1. You've got some great goals on your list! Good luck with all of them :) x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x



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