Monday, 13 June 2016

Five Years. 1000 Blog Posts




My 1000th blog post, five years on... oh the pressure to mark such massive milestones in some amazing way! 

Do I share my 5 all-time favourite products?
Tell you a bunch of stuff you don't know about me?
Talk about the things I've learned through blogging?

I've thought about all of the above until my head spun, so decided to just start writing and see where it goes, which in a way, is the very essence of a blog. I had no idea where Strawberry Blonde Beauty would go when I started (I'd have chosen a cooler name for starters!) - I just wanted a creative outlet to share some of my interests with like minded people. Lots of others write way more worthy life-changing blogs and for a long time I was a bit embarrassed to say that I wrote about beauty as it seemed so shallow and superficial. I still feel a bit cringe and gloss over the details with certain people, but for the most part I've changed my mind about this.

I've decided it's ok to care about how we look. The truth is that a minority fall out of bed looking like someone from the cover of a glossy magazine (not many do, to be fair, and most who do probably don't even realise it.) I'm not one of those people. I know I'm not the worst but those unfortunate enough to see me top-knotted & barefaced on the school run will tell you that I look a hella lot better after hair & makeup (by me, obvs).

For me, using good skincare and makeup can mean the difference between walking up the street with my head held high and staring at my feet hoping I don't bump into anyone I know. I'm not proud of that, just being honest - and reckon more will identify than not. And yes, of course I'm thankful for my health and extremely aware that there are more important things in life. In the past six months I've gone through a marriage separation and moved my mum into a nursing home, with all the 'stuff' that leads up to that, so trust me - I know.

But I've finally accepted that it's ok to feel better with a bit of makeup and smoothed out hair... I don't need to feel guilty about this. I also know that there are days when a simple shower and clean hair can make me feel like a new human (mums of newborns will identify!). There are times when focusing on painting my nails can be a form of mindfulness and treating myself to a new lipstick feels more like self love than frivolity. There's a reason why it's call beauty therapy. Organisations like Look Good Feel Better have realised this too - and run workshops where qualified beauty volunteers (inc friends of mine) support women going through cancer to help them regain confidence.

The beauty industry is worth £17 billion in the UK alone - it's BIG business and an absolute minefield in terms of knowing what works and where to begin. If I can help even one woman spend her hard earned cash on a product that actually delivers and makes her feel good, then this blog is worth writing. I too get overwhelmed standing in Boots or Space NK like a kid in a sweet shop, wondering what to buy, whether it works and getting really cross when it doesn't. I depend on other bloggers enormously for reviews and swatches. And nothing makes my day like when a reader thanks me for a recommendation that they love. I know that there are a gazillion more bloggers than when I started out, including some ah-mazing new talent - and think most of us can work out who to trust these days. I must admit that for me, many of those are the bloggers I've loved from back in the day... British Beauty Blogger, Caroline Hirons and A Model Recommends to name a few.

For anyone thinking of getting in on the game I say:
  • Blogging is tougher than it looks and a much bigger commitment than you'd expect, but totally worth it in my experience.
  • Only write about something you're passionate (and knowledgeable) about. This will attract readers and keep you from feeling disheartened.
  • Don't force it. If there are gaps in my schedule (and there have been plenty, soz) it's because I'd rather write nothing than churn out something half hearted for the sake of it. 
  • Don't carbon copy - enough people are doing that already and it's the ones who stand out from the crowd who er, stand out from the crowd. There's a reason for that!
  • Do write the kind of blog posts you'd love to read.
My plans for blogging went from basically none, other than a fun outlet, to meeting a lot of amazing people, working with my favourite brands and essentially becoming a full time beauty writer. This still blows my mind. Things have been a little quieter of late than I'd like, but plans are afoot and I hope you'll stay around to see them unfold.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who have been with me since day one and to everyone that has stopped by along the way. I really do find it humbling that you're interested in what little old me has to say. I'm planning a giveaway to say thank you, prize ideas welcome in the comments! Also, feel free to request any particular product reviews or topics you'd like to see more of around here (or not). I do tend to focus on the things that I love and have personal experience of - as I don't feel qualified to comment otherwise - but your interests are always important to me too.

So there we go. I've celebrated 5 years of blogging and 1000 blog posts with a bit of a ramble. Nothing new then!  


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