Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging for?
I published my first ever blog post on Mirror on the Wall in December 2011, but after that it was very much forgotten about, with I think maybe one or two sporadic posts within the next three months. It was only in March 2012 that I decided that I really wanted to start writing a proper blog, and so from there on I began to post regularly and haven't looked back since.
I started blogging because I live a long way from home with my husband, and had struggled with loneliness for the past couple of years. I was browsing the internet one night, trying to find some information on what was in store at Primark at the time, and I stumbled across a Primark haul video from Youtuber Zoella. After watching some more of her videos, I was intrigued enough to visit her blog, and it spiralled from there! I found myself looking to the beauty blogosphere for information every time I wanted to purchase a new product, and eventually, after a few months, I decided I wanted to start a blog of my own. Starting Mirror on the Wall was the best thing I had done for myself since moving away and has really filled a hole for me - I only wish I'd done it sooner!
Whose blog did you fall in love with first?
Well as I mentioned before, the first one I discovered was Zoella, and I have to say, I think I read back through almost every post on there when I first stumbled upon it! At that point, I had no idea how many blogs there were out there, just waiting to be read. After that, I stumbled upon Sprinkle of Glitter, so it was very much the high-profile blogs I was reading in the beginning, though mainly because I had no idea how and where to find others.
What's the most important part about doing a blog post?
I would say it's pretty important that you really want to write the post. If you're bored doing it then it'll show! It's also important to have all the relevant information to hand if you're writing something like a review, as you do need to know what you're talking about, and I do like to see nice clear photos where possible. However, I'm very aware that great photos are easier said than done if you haven't got the right equipment, and I wouldn't be put off a blog if the author's photos were not the creme de la creme.
What camera do you use?
I use an old Samsung digital which was kindly given to me as an engagement present a few years ago. Sadly, many of the settings on it are now starting to malfunction so I am hoping that Santa might be kind enough to bring me a new one for Christmas!
What was the first blogosphere hyped about product you bought, and was it worth the hype?
Definitely the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. I'd never heard of Liz until I began reading blogs, and it was at a time when I had decided I really needed to start taking care of my skin, after years of using facewipes (I know). Cleanse and Polish was the first hot cloth cleanser I'd come across, and I loved the concept, not to mention the brand as a whole. I find it to be a lovely cleanser and one I will keep coming back to, but in spite of this I wouldn't call it a miracle product.
What are your favourite things about blogging and being a beauty blogger?
I love that I have something creative to do with my time, and I love that I have an excuse to write whenever the mood takes me. I have discovered numerous products through blogging that I wouldn't otherwise have looked twice at, too. But most of all, I love the blogging community. In the beginning, I had no idea I would be able to chat with like-minded people over Twitter, or that everyone would be so kind and supportive of each other. Of course, nothing is ever perfect and there will always be one or two who spoil it, but I can honestly say that those people are very few and far between.
Besides this, sad as it may seem, checking my comments each day is something I really look forward to, as is catching up on other bloggers' latest posts.
What have you learned from being a beauty blogger?
I've learnt that a product that works for one person won't necessarily work for everyone, and vice versa. And I've learnt not to be afraid of putting myself out there. At first, I was really nervous to publish my real name or any pictures of myself, for fear of being judged if anyone I knew were to see it. The thing is that beauty bloggers are often seen by outsiders as shallow and vacuous, which could not be further from the truth, and if I'm completely honest, even I used to think that people who posted pictures of themselves were vain and arrogant. I'm so glad that I dipped my toe in the water and discovered the truth, and I only wish that those who do not write or read blogs would be more open-minded about it.
Have you changed anything since being a beauty blogger?
I think blogging has definitely made me happier. And in terms of beauty itself, I've definitely become much better at looking after myself. I suppose I used to neglect myself a bit in some ways, as I didn't take care of my skin at all, and didn't think twice about going out of the house with chipped nail polish on. Whilst I still do so on the odd occasion where necessary, I think it's made me realise how good giving yourself a bit of TLC can make you feel. I wouldn't be without my weekly pamper nights these days.
On the downside, I used to only buy makeup as and when I needed it, and never had more than one of anything at a time (one foundation, one blush etc.), whereas now I seem to feel the need to have ten of everything, which doesn't bode well for my bank account.
What advice would you give to a beauty blogger just starting out?
Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, and don't worry about followers! You are not a rubbish blogger if it takes you a while to gain followers, as this has been the case for every blogger out there at some point. Just write and post what you want, and they will come - slowly but surely.
Don't make the mistake of begging people to follow you, or trying to strike up a follow-for-follow deal with other bloggers, as this doesn't go down well, and for the most part I'd say it's more likely to put people off.
A great tip is to open a Twitter account for your blog, in order to chat with other bloggers. This is a great way to get to know people as well as discovering new blogs to read, and people will probably want to read yours, too.
Basically, I'd say just have fun with it, do what you want and be true to yourself. But do be polite - it's the only must.
Your favourite eyeshadow palette?
Truth be told, I'm not that much of an eyeshadow wearer. I don't think it's really my forte and I'm not all that sure it suites me either, but when I go out I do use my Urban Decay NYC palette for a more dramatic look. Actually, I've literally just started getting back into eyeshadow and am hoping to get an MUA palette or two for Christmas so that I can try my hand with them before deciding whether or not to invest in some pricier ones.
The best beauty deal?
Well, speaking of MUA palettes, it's got to be them! £3 or so for a selection of good quality eyeshadows is just fantastic.
I don't really have any, although perhaps I was a bit heavy handed on the black eyeliner as a teen. I sometimes regret starting to wear foundation/tinted moisturiser and concealer in the first place, as now I feel that I need them, whereas I was fine without them before!
Name your top five beauty brands!
Ooh, a toughie. I'd say Redken for hair, Liz Earle and Origins for skin and Mac and Clinique for makeup.
It's really hard to narrow it down though as I also love Benefit...can I have six!?
This isn't really part of the question, but in terms of top lower-end/'drugstore' brands then I'd go for Revlon, L'oreal and Aussie!
Recommend your top five beauty products.
I'm cheating and doing nine, because I really love all of these:
1. Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask
2. Maybelline 25 Hour Super Stay Lip Colour
3. Redken All Soft conditioner
4. Garnier 7 Days moisturising lotion ( cheap and cheerful but really does do the job!)
5. Benefit Blush in Coralists
6. Mac MSF in Soft and Gentle
7. Mac lippies in general - my finish of choice is Amplified Creme
8. Suti Peppermint Water Organic Facial Toner
9. Origins Modern Friction
10. Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish
Well. That was rather lengthier than expected. Full marks if you're still awake. If any of you would like to do this tag then please feel free - I didn't create it, and truth be told I wasn't tagged either, but I wanted to do it, so I did.
What would your top five beauty products be? Please let me know in the comments below, as I LOVE finding out about the products that people really rate and getting some ideas on what I might like to try next!
Hope you're all having a nice relaxing Sunday.