There's a series on Channel 4 with Grayson Perry on at the moment surrounding identity, where we sit within ourselves and what's behind the masks we wear or the version of ourselves we project in any given situation. Right now I'm at a point where I can be the most myself I've ever felt able to be online. I'm not sure whether that's because I'm just that little bit older, or if it's because I'm more secure in what I'm putting out there.
There are two things that I remain unsure of; if anyone has ever stopped by for my beauty recommendations, or if I ever was a good beauty blogger. Regardless I still accepted samples for review, at one point saying yes to maybe 40% of the things I was offered; things I was pretty sure I'd like, things that sounded interesting, and things that I thought I might not like but was curious about. The things that I didn't like never made it into a post. At the time I thought that was best, but now I think that all I really did was waste a bunch of people's time.
Occasionally I wrote reviews and then found myself changing my mind a few weeks or months down the line. Not that changing my mind is inherently bad, tastes change and going back to edit a post is totally possible. However the thought of recommending something, prompting someone to spend their money on something they end up hating, and then finding myself thinking that it wasn't that great in the first place makes me a bit uncomfortable. I've been thinking about why that is and I think it's because I felt like a bit of a fraud. There are incredible beauty writers around who try so many products and from that they're able to compare, contrast & provide solid recommendations. I could never be on their level.
There are three valuable blogging lessons I've personally learned in regards to this over time;
to only accept less than 5% of the things I'm offered comprised solely of things I already think I'll like
to take my time in forming an opinion
that I don't have to review things in the traditional sense.
In leaving the in depth reviews to those who are much more versed in the nature of reviewing, I think (hope) it's okay for me to just mention the things I'm using and liking at any given moment. Accepting less and taking time in forming opinions has resulted in less things being offered to me, which I totally understand. PR agencies have targets and budgets. I always want them to approach those who will really be able to help get the word out about their client's products. If that's not me then it's more than okay, and if it is me then I'll always try my best, as long as I'm able to stay within my own comfort zone.
Although perhaps my perspective has been a little off kilter this whole time. Maybe critical reviews or prompting discussions around the things I wasn't so impressed with would have been better. Are critical discussions more valuable? Is it even possible to start and sustain multiple smaller discussions when the blogosphere is insanely huge now? My reason for not liking something may be your reason to think 'hmm, yes, I might like that'. We're all different and that's what makes life exciting. I think that discussion is important. But at the same time it's never been my aim to 'sell' products to anyone, you know? This has always been about connecting with people who have similar interests.
Of course over time interests and tastes change. Just because I had a lot in common with someone three years ago, it doesn't mean that's the case now. And I love that because it means I get to see the world from their perspective and how it differs from my own, when we started off looking from very similar angles. Three years ago I loved make up and I almost trained to be a make up artist. Three years and most of an English Lit degree later I like make up, but I love books. Neither one holds more worth than the other, they're just different. A very good friend takes enormous pride when she recommends a product to someone who goes on to adore it and feel extra confident within themselves. That's giving an incredible gift to someone and she does it regularly.
As for what I hope to do one day? If I can encourage one person to pick up a book for the first time in a long time and it opens the door of literature for them, well, I'll be able to look back and think that I achieved something.
So even though I'm not sure where/if I fit into the blogging community anymore or if in not talking about things I dislike I'm contributing to a problem, I think I'm more content than I've ever been.
A collaboration between My Little Box* and Diane von Furstenberg initially feels a little odd because their aesthetics are quite different. My Little Box is whimsical & sweet whereas Furstenberg's designs are bold & eye-catching. But I suppose their shared celebration (probably not the right word, I'm not being very articulate today) of women means this perhaps slightly unexpected partnership does make sense.
'Be the woman you want to be' print
Diane von Furstenberg for My Little Box scarf
A kiss from Diane lips pin/brooch
My Little Beauty Micellar Water
L'Occitane Hand Cream
Honestly? I don't think that this is one of their best boxes, but this is where it all comes down to personal taste. The scarf and the pin just aren't my kind of thing, but I appreciate that a lot of people will absolutely adore them. I'm all micellar-water-ed out, preferring oils to anything else to remove my make up, but I don't think I'll struggle to find a new home for this particular bottle.
The print is lovely, with an inspiring quote and the usual sweet illustrative style that I've come to expect from the talented My Little Box team. My Mum has already pinched the Kerastase hairspray and I'm always happy to have a mini L'Occitane hand cream on hand because they're always lovely.
I don't know. I suppose the box just feels like it's missing something this month and perhaps it's because their previous boxes have been particularly impressive. This isn't a bad box by any means, it's very well curated, with a lot of care put into the little details and it's still the subscription service I would recommend over all others at the moment. I hope they manage to regain their magic again next month.
It's that time of the year when I start reaching for anything that promises to give my skin added moisture, beautiful nude blush shades replace the corals, and I attempt to find a bold lip colour that I like. Here's a few of the things I'll be using a lot over the coming weeks...
My favourite day time moisturiser is part of the Aqualia Thermal range from Vichy and adding the serum* from the same range to my routine has done wonders for my skin already. The combination of the two is something I'll be continuing to use throughout the cooler months when trying to keep my skin hydrated can be difficult.
During the night time I'll be reaching for oils even more than usual. A little while ago Boots sent me a little parcel of some of their top selling products and the Botanics Facial Oil* is by far my favourite. It's incredibly hydrating but not greasy or heavy like some facial oils can be, so I think that this would be great for a lot of different skin types.
When it's cold, priming is a step I can't skip if I want my foundation to apply smoothly. Hydraluron* is a serum designed to be used before moisturiser that boosts moisture levels in the skin. I've put it in the prime category even though it isn't really one because when I use it, I've found that I don't need to then go in with a dedicated primertoo. I'm not totally sold on it yet, but I think if you've been eying it for a while it's worth a try.
The Laura Mercier primer is really new to me but I think the gel texture is a little unusual in the world of primers and I like how smoothly my foundation applies over the top. One I've been reaching for consistently over the past couple of weeks is the Max Factor FaceFinity All Day Primer. I can't vouch for any oil controlling properties and although it claims to mattify skin I actually think it gives a really nice satin finish, which is why I really like it.
When it comes to blush in the Autumn I either go very neutral or very pink. I have two neutral picks, one powder and one cream. NARS Penny Lane cream blush is one of those extremely reliable colours. When I reach for it I know that it's going to apply evenly and that it's going to last the whole day. My neutral powder option is one of the very affordable Rimmel blushes in the colour Santa Rose. Whilst this isn't quite as long-lasting as a NARS blush, it does stick around for most of the day and at under £4 I think that's pretty impressive.
My pink choice is from Lily Lolo and it's one of their mineral blushes in Ooh La La*. This is a colour that can either give a hint of pink or an intense, more statement look. I mostly like to wear it with a nude lip and lots of mascara, so I do tend to be a bit liberal with it. What can I say? I just love blush!
Lips & nails.
Bright lip colours still intimidate me a little, which is odd because two of these are shades that I used to wear a lot. Bold colours seem to make me look a lot older than I am now, so I have to be a little careful with how I apply them in order to feel comfortable. I have been starting with this Pixi Lip Balm in Ripe Raspberry* to ease me back into the wonder of brights and I love it so far. Topshop All About Me is a stunning pink with a hint of red and Revlon Cherries in the Snow is just such a classic.
Lastly Burberry Storm Grey is the only nail colour I want to wear right now, perhaps with a little Essie A Cut Above over the top for a bit of sparkle sometimes. Lovely! Are there any make up changes you make to your beauty routine in the Autumn?