|Photo source: Pinterest.|
This post is inspired by Jasmine's recent post, and it really got me thinking. I started to blog because it was a distraction from my illness, I have always been hugely interested in beauty (my thesis even included it and the lack of racial diversity in the community), and also because being ill can be isolating, so it was nice to be part of a community. I genuinely wanted conversations with other people who had similar interests. I had no desire to be the next Zoella - I just wanted to have something else to focus on, other than my illness. I have made some great friends/connections with like-minded people and also seen others who started around the same time as me, just drop off the radar, as well as others sky-rocket, whether through buying followers on Instagram, or changing direction, which is only natural, as interests change as we get older (but please, enough of the gardening!!). I'm still blogging about beauty (although I do want to incorporate more of my other loves - handbags/shoes!) - both skincare and makeup, although more of the former. I've never actually shown my face on my blog or Instagram, which I feel has definitely affected my growth, but when I look in the mirror, I see the ill version of me. When I am better, you'll see me (if I'm still blogging!). Others may not even be able to tell that I'm ill - it's invisible after all, but I can, and that's what matters to me. So where does that leave me......
Blogging is a hobby for me and I actually don't think that I had a proper hobby before this. Before being ill, I led a very busy life as I worked full-time, did private tutoring, had lots of different circles of friends to catch up with, loved spending time with my nephews and my Granda, in particular, as well as my husband, obviously (boyfriend at the time and it was long-distance). I was always the first to offer help to others and I suppose all of that didn't leave me with a lot of free time to spend on a hobby. I liked being busy, but I love this hobby of mine now.
When I started blogging, there was little, to no, emphasis on Instagram and I was totally late to the party on that one, so I don't remember the "good old days" - for me, it's always been a pain! It's a pointless game - comment on peoples' posts in the hope that they'll return a comment and so on and so on. I personally am not a fan because I learn nothing from it, and don't like reels. That said, it's a hugely popular platform and brands seem to favour those who will take pretty photos of their products, than those who will give full reviews - which is why I prefer blogs. It can be very disheartening though, to see people who (absolutely have a talent for photography/styling), receive so many amazing PR parcels, knowing that they will take a nice photo and that's about it (some even admit to giving the products away after taking the photos), so brands obviously place more value on a pretty photo, than a thorough review. Plus, I find Instagram boring because so many people copy each other, that scrolling through my feed, feels like it's just the same photo, but with different products in it. And don't even get me started on the ones who obviously bought their followers!! To be clear, I am not in this for PR - I buy the vast majority of products I feature, but when you know you can offer more to a brand than just a pretty photo and it seems like you're the only one in that community not to receive a product, it can be disheartening.
I don't have the artistic talents of my friend Laura from Laura Lou Beauty, so I can't show you five different looks from one palette, nor do I have the knowledge of my friend Doctor Anne. I'm just a beauty obsessive and consumer, who blogs honestly about products, in the hope that my opinion might resonate with others with the same skin or hair type! I'm also passionate about sharing my Lyme Disease/M.E and now, Long Covid experience, because sometimes, people who have these illnesses feel that they don't have a voice or somebody they can relate to, yet I don't want it to be my identity, hence blogging mainly about beauty.
I have zero inclination to be a sell-out, who promotes products or writes posts about pasta/driving lessons/travel insurance etc etc, just to earn a few quid. Each to their own, but that's not me. I will only accept samples of products if I genuinely want to try them and think that my readers might like to hear about them, if a brand ghosts me, I'll no longer feature them on the blog, unless it's an extreme love (one I spent a lot of money on before they ever contacted me) because I think it's extremely rude.
So, I suppose when I question where my place is in the blogging world - it's exactly the same as it was when I began - to give you honest reviews, and I guess the fact that my views are consistently rising, backs that up.
Will I continue to do this long-term? I don't know. There have been times when I've thought about quitting, but as my husband reminds me, I'll still be buying the products, so why not write about them? I really do believe that my health will recover, and when that happens, I don't think I'd have the time to blog as frequently as I do now. I have plans - I've started writing a book and I want to do a PhD. I also have other ideas for how I can diversify this blog, with both of those things in mind, but it may be liking starting from scratch as the people who come here for beauty reviews may not be interested in the other topics...... we'll see.
For now, I feel that as long as I enjoy blogging and I still have people reading, I'll keep blogging (although I'd love if people commented more as I'd feel less like I'm talking to myself!). If it ever stops feeling fun, or feels like a chore, I'll stop. I do wish that brands placed more value on blogs though....
Well that was a long ramble! I'd love to hear your thoughts, whether you are a blogger or a reader?
Thanks for reading!
All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.