H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


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.

- xo

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  1. It's so good that you've finally found what you've always wanted to do! I agree about beauty, I started my blog with beauty reviews and then ended up finding I was just reviewing products for the sake of it. Now, if I review a product it's because it's in my life and it's something which affects me. I love your lifestyle posts and your writing so I look forward to seeing more of it from you!

    hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk xx

  2. You always write so well. I just love your posts. I've read your blog four around 3 years now from the beauty posts to what you write today. I've always enjoyed your blog but watching it transform into what it has become today has been a pleasure, I genuinely look forwards to reading your posts and you always seem to get me thinking about stuff!

    Lauren | Calico Skies xx

  3. You could write about anything at all and I'll still enjoy reading it because you're a wonderful writer! I do especially love your book posts though, the reviews are always so well written without giving away the whole plot. Don't worry about where you fit in in the blogging world, who wants to be put in a box? x

    Josie’s Journal

  4. As a relatively new reader to your blog, I can say that it was your focus on books and other unique aspects of lifestyle that drew me in. Like you, I like makeup but I LOVE books.

    I like that you write about what you're most passionate about not just because that makes always writing more interesting but also because that keeps the blog world diverse and lets us all keep relating to each other in unique ways.

  5. I love your posts Jennie, they are always so beautifully written. I equally enjoy your makeup and book reviews, I'm pretty sure if you wrote 400 words about the weather, I'd still keep clicking back for more. ;) I definitely accept fewer samples these days, I spot so many bloggers these days accepting samples which don't fit their blog, or sponsored blog posts which look extremely out of place. I'm glad we aren't like them!

    Tara x

  6. This was such an interesting read - especially given the wake of questioning over bloggers who do receive things to review/get paid to review, but don't necessarily disclose or state a true opinion.

    I'm much more influenced to go and look at something myself if a blogger has been honest about the product. Both if it was gifted and if it has any bad points.

    I think you can always tell if someone is being truthful or not by the rest of the content in their blog - much like yours!

    Em | Hmm Maybe...

  7. I always thought that blog is Your space and You can and should use it as You wish! There are blogs That I follow only because they offer good reviews and are strictly beauty or fashion blogs. There are also blogs I love that have a bot of everything in them and I follow these mostly because they seem to be more honest and that's why I 'like the blogger' and I want to find out about what they like. This is how I find Your blog. It's simply interesting and You've got Your own style, You seem to be real person who shares a bit of her life :)

  8. I think you have the most amazing writing style - it's so personal, and it's what I think of first when I see your blog. I also like that you write about a mix of different things. It's lovely that you have an idea of what you want to do, good luck with it! xx


  9. I have actually come to realise that I have read certain blogs for years and years (including yours), not for the category of content, but for the quality and the connection I feel with the writer and blogger. You could write about the dullest topic on earth and I'd still happily read it Jennie! x

    Miho @ Wander to Wonder


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