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Sunday, 19 April 2015

Why I Miss the Way Blogging Used To Be


Sometimes I can't quite believe I started this blog 4 years ago.  I've shared a lot over that amount of time and even though my rambles are mostly beauty related, I see my blog as much more than a place to share my opinions on cosmetics and's become almost like a diary for me.  As silly as it sounds, I often sit and read through my older posts - I find it so interesting to read back and see how much I've changed as a person. Bird's Words has seen me go through so much - starting uni, finishing uni, quitting jobs, beginning new jobs, break-ups, tough times, happy times - I feel like I've been writing this blog through so many different transitions and stages of my life that it's genuinely become part of me and who I am. When I published my first ever post, I never knew just how much of a big part of myself it would become or how many opportunities it would bring me. It became much more than just a beauty blog - it became an outlet and a distraction for me when I was feeling down, yet it also became a place for me to share my personal successes and happiness - it's been a complete joy to write.  For me, my blog is a massive positive and something that I've grown so attached to and proud of during those few years.  I can remember exactly who I was, what I was doing and how I felt even through the shortest blog post about a random lipstick. It's such a nice thing to have and all this time I've been writing, I've been  unknowingly creating this little document containing snippets of my life for the past 4 years. I feel so lucky to have it.

I've always shared the negative with the positive on this blog and although it makes me sad to continue with this post, it's something that's been playing on my mind for weeks and weeks and it seemed silly not to share it - like I'm ignoring a massive elephant in the room. If you've been reading my blog for a long time, then you might have noticed a slight change the past few weeks and I feel as if I should be honest about the way things are -both with myself and my readers.  I guess I just haven't been feeling as motivated as usual to keep up with my schedule - I'm sure we all feel like that from time to time (i stand by the fact that bloggers-block syndrome is real) but this time it feels a lot different. Usually if I've felt a bit de-motivated,  it's been a fleeting moment influenced by working a lot or university deadlines - but this time it's much more than that - it's almost like I'm now at a crossroads in some way where I need to make the decision whether or not to continue doing something I've loved doing for so long, or stop. 

I'll be completely honest and say that at the moment I feel like I'm blogging for bloggings sake. If anybody ever asked me 'when will you stop?' - my answer was always the same - 'I can't see myself ever stopping but the moment when it stops making me happy - i'll call it a day'.  Honestly, I never actually thought there would be a day where I didnt love every second of my little blogging journey - but at the moment I don't enjoy this the way I used to and I'm not entirely sure I'm doing it for fun anymore - it's become more out of habit. Don't get me wrong, once I get into writing a post, I'm reminded why I love being a blogger, but I'd be lying if I said I feel the same as I used to about it.  I've questioned why I'm carrying on despite feeling less than chipper about it and the truth is, it makes me feel so sad to let such a big part of my life go - if you're a blogger you'll understand just how much influence it has over your life and I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to call it quits on something I've loved for so long.  Deep down I don't think I actually want to stop - but there's a couple of things recently that really have completely changed my mindset about blogging and, quite frankly, it's become clear to me that it's impossible for me to overlook these things.  I questioned at first whether or not the way i've been feeling is because of new work commitments and life changes, but almost 3 months later - it's becoming clear as day that it's simply not the case.   The truth is - I'm falling out of love with blogging. There, I've said it.  But I have no doubt in my mind why I've been feeling this way and it's by no means because I've simply gotten 'bored'. 

Blogging is an amazing hobby - you don't realise it when you begin but sooner or later down the line, you're introduced to the whole online community of like-minded beauty enthusiasts that share your interests and it's almost as if a whole new world opens up...your blog becomes much more than somewhere to share an opinion.  You learn new things, discover all sorts you never would have before, open new doors for yourself and what's more - you develop genuine friendships.  Familiar faces pop up in your comments box, a tweet from a favourite blogger or an email from a reader completely makes your day and if you're ever having a bad time - you know that somebody, somewhere will listen. The community spirit surrounding blogging truly has amazed me in the past and I can honestly say there's a select handful of people that I am so glad to have met and spoken to because of blogging...genuine people I've developed a genuine bond with all of which has stemmed from a few words in a comments box - it's amazing.  But as with all things, there's a negative side to it all too.  Everybody always seems to comment on the supportive spirit of blogging - but if you scratch the surface - is it really what everybody makes it out to be? Because I'm not entirely convinced that it is anymore and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only blogger who thinks this way.

There's no doubt that blogging is not what it was a few years ago when I began writing.  It's developed into something way bigger - we now live in a world where people make millions from sitting behind a camera in their bedroom and people have the potential to make good money from their writing.  Don't get me wrong, as a blogger I think that it's fantastic - I'm sure if you're a blogger too you'll know just how much work and time it takes to publish content on a regular basis and I think it's a great thing that people are able to make money from doing something they love and pour so much of their personal time into (let's face it - it can become almost like a second job at times!)  However, I do think it's made blogging a lot more competitive and results focused - it's losing that element of spontaneity as well as slowly taking away the fun, carefree element.  A blog post doesn't stop at scribbling down your opinion anymore - it seems as if it's more about who can take the best photographs,  who has the best layout, who has the most followers or comments and who gets noticed the most...everything seems to be focused around follower numbers and popularity. For some reason, it all seemed much more genuine to me at the beginning. There were no unwritten rules and it all seemed a much more positive, friendly and supportive place to be. I guess i just miss the spontaneous nature of the way things were 3 or 4 years was much more humble and there were no pressures whatsoever to blog a certain way. You just did what you wanted to do - you created your blog your way, there wasn't so much focus on sharing your entire life via social media and if someone stumbled upon your blog - then great. Everybody who blogged was blogging for the same reason - simply because they wanted to and loved doing it. There was no competition or rivalry whatsoever. Is it just me who sometimes misses the simple days of following a blog via GFC? When Bloglovin' was introduced, everything shifted in my opinion. If a blog didn't have a follow button I simply added it to a bookmark on my computer regardless - now it seems that your blog only gets noticed if you have a full set of social media icons and a bloglovin' button with an impressive number. 

In my opinion it's slowly changed the way blogging used to be.  Without giving this too much context, some of you might be aware that I found myself at the end of some accusations at the beginning of the year - and I have to say, that was without a doubt the turning point for me and I've never really felt the same way about blogging since if I'm being completely upfront and honest.  It was like a switch overnight. Before it all, the thought of stopping never crossed my mind and I was so enthusiastic and motivated with my blog - probably more so than ever. But it's completely altered my thoughts on the blogging world and has made me feel so negative and down about the entire thing and try as I might, I just cannot shift it. Everybody has a negative comment from time to time but this was different.  I just really don't think the same thing would have happened a few years ago and it's a shame that blogging has developed such a side to it. Over the years, I've seen a few bloggers find themselves at the receiving end of criticism for one reason or another - some of them I would have classed as favourite reads of mine. I've watched them completely drop off the scale and quit blogging almost instantly and I find it so sad that a comment or two on a computer screen can have such an effect on someone.  I often wondered why they would stop all because of a few words but I have to say - I completely understand now. When blogging is such a big part of your life, of course it's going to effect you on a personal level when negative things are said.  When your integrity has been questioned also - as mine has - it's extremely difficult to move on and forget...especially when you literally can't do a thing about it (and believe me, I've tried). It's so incredibly frustrating - I can't even begin to put it in to words. I've had people I've always noticed pop up in my comments box completely disappear, I've read things about myself and my blog that simply aren't true in the slightest - in fact, I'm pretty sure I've read posts on the subject - and if you haven't had it happen to you then it's hard to imagine how it feels. You can't not take it personally. 
You can read a thousand positive comments on your blog but still only remember the negative ones and I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's not bothered me - because it has.  I've actually sat in tears on my boyfriend's sofa telling him about all of this and I've had endless conversations with friends and colleagues and it's just made me think - if this is what blogging has become - is it really worth it? Some might say that's dramatic and it's silly to read so much into a negative response or comment, but I'm just the type of person who doesn't take well to things like this and as a result, I've lost all enthusiasm for something which I used to love overnight. Not everybody on the internet has a thick skin and I think that's important to remember. It really has gotten to me on much more of a personal level than I would have imagined and I completely salute all the 'big' bloggers and Youtubers out there who have to deal with hate, accusations and gossip on a regular basis.  I raise my hat to you. I couldn't do it.  The internet can be a cruel place.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for Bird's Words anymore and that there are reasons why I feel this's not because I've gotten bored, or can't be bothered, or that life has got in the way, or even that i particularly want to stop...and I guess I just wanted to highlight that fact. I still plow through my reading list on my lunch break, I still buy products and 'save' them because I want to photograph them looking all pretty and I still find myself jotting down ideas for posts - the beauty obsessive blogger is still here somewhere - but I'm struggling at the moment to take the plunge and get back to where I was. Of course, if I do decide to take a break then there's no reason why I might not come back or start again in the future once I feel ready - I like to think that I would  - but I hate doing things by halves.
I still have a few posts I want to write so I won't drop completely off the face of the earth, I just reckon it might be time to step back, re-evaluate and twiddle my thumbs for a while until I know where I stand with my blog and the bloggosphere in general. 

Anyway, before I ramble on any further, I shall end this post here (I've written an actual book here haven't I?) I have no idea where I've been going with this if I'm completely honest - I reckon I'm writing it more for my own benefit (isn't it funny how blogging can be a form of therapy!?) - I guess I just wanted to be completely honest about the way things are.  Like I said, I've always shared the negative with the positive and I just wanted to let other bloggers out there who maybe feel or have felt this way in the past that you're certainly not alone. I really hope that a little downtime will do me good and I'll be back to my old blogging ways in the near future.  Before I tottle off, I just wanted to say that your support has not gone un-noticed. Honestly. Thankyou so so much to those of you who have carried on reading and commenting - you're the reason I've continued despite feeling less than chirpy about the blogging world and you really have spurred me on... thank you to each and every one of you for making writing my blog such a wonderful experience.

*P.S - I apologise this post was so long - I did try to cut some jibber-jabber out but it made sense for it to just be a completely honest ramble - not planned :)

Lots of love xx

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Spring Smokey Eye | New Arrivals from Yves Rocher

Yves Rocher is a brand I've recently been introduced to.  After falling in love with one of their summer fragrances last year, I was quite excited to give some of their cosmetics a try.  As France's number one selling make-up and skincare brand, Yves Rocher uses home-grown botanical ingredients to create affordable, natural beauty products.  I've been putting some of their new arrivals to the test the past couple of weeks - a selection of eye make-up goodies perfect for creating a Spring Smokey Eye.  I have to say I instantly fell in the love with the  eyeshadow palette...the colours are simply perfect for the season and I couldn't wait to get creating some looks with it.  Anyway,  I shall refrain from rabbiting on and just get into the nitty gritty... Here's the lowdown on some of Yves Rocher's latest bits and bobs...

Intense Kajal 100%  / £9.95* / Link
Now then, I'll be honest - I've never quite cottoned on to these 'kajal' liners. I see them reviewed quite a bit and for the most part they're always well liked - but I just can't seem to grasp the concept.  I prefer a smudged line underneath my lower lash line as opposed to a clean line anyway so it does work for me in that sense - the product is soft to apply and provides good pigmentation and the shape of it means that it provides a soft and sultry look.  However, I'm a bit confused as to what happens once the tip has worn down slightly as I already find it a bit difficult to use. I reckon I'll end up using it as an eyeshadow stick for when I'm going a bit heavier and smokier with the eye makeup - i think it will make a nice base product.

Sumptuous Colour Eyeshadow Quad Palette in Red Hot Brown / £12.50* / Link
Yves Rocher have created a series of these quad eyeshadow palettes with a variety of tones and colour options.  Naturally, I opted for 'Red Hot Brown' - I'm such a neutrals obsessive after all.  Firstly - I love the simplicity of this quad - it has everything you need to create a variety of looks and it's lightweight and compact in size… the elegant gold casing and large mirror finishes it off nicely.  The first time I swatched this palette I was blown away by the consistency and pigmentation of the shadows.  They're incredibly soft and buttery to the touch - even the matte purple/brown shade is super creamy and pigmented. I usually find mattes to be a bit more chalky in texture but this palette really has got every shade spot on the mark… I certainly wasn't disappointed.  Whats more, the shadows can be applied wet or dry.  Applied wet, they create a more intense, metallic sort of finish.

I've been using this on a daily basis since I got it - the champagne shade is perfect for the inner corners of the eyes or for using across the lid, and the taupe shade is a gorgeous everyday sort of colour.  I adore the rust gold/brown as it really seems to bring out my eye colour - and I can definitely see myself wearing it on holiday with the dark brown blended onto the outer corners for a super quick and easy summer smokey eye. The slight purple hue is so pretty. The colour stays put really well on my eyelids (i always use a primer first) and stays looking smooth and radiant for a good few hours.  Overall - this is a fabulous little palette and totally worth the £12.50* - I've bought drugstore palettes for similar prices in the past but Yves Rocher really have stepped it up a gear with pigmentation and consistency and I definitely think it rivals my higher-end favourites.  I reckon this might be jetting away on holiday with me (not that I'm planning already or anything…) - the colours will be perfect with a tan!

Mascara Volume Vertige  / £11.50* / Link
I've heard good things about Yves Rocher mascaras in the past - I remember when they launched their 'Sexy Pulp' mascara a while back and reading a tonne of fab reviews so I couldn't wait to give this one a whirl.  The Volume Vertige mascara is enriched with a fixing botanical extract which helps lashes hold a curl for longer - something I always look for in a mascara as my lashes are straight as straight can be. The brush is also a unique 'Reservoir Wand' - which disperses product evenly and prevents clumping. I've only used this a couple of times so far but it seems to separate the lashes really nicely - creating natural looking volume and definition...not a clump in sight. It also seems to do a fab job of holding a curl but so far I've been using this mostly at weekends - I'm yet to see how it holds up through a whole day at work which will be the true test here... my lashes seem to lose their 'umph' a little when I'm at the office! It's worth mentioning that it removes easily - always a plus point in my opinion! Nobody likes scrubbing their peepers of an evening do they?  So far, so good.

Fixing Eye Primer  / £7.50* / Link
I always like to use an eyeshadow primer.  Ever since I discovered the benefits a few years ago it's become a part of my daily makeup routine.  Not only does it lock in colour and keep it in place for longer, it also helps to intensify the colour of your shadows.  Enriched with Camellia Oil, this primer smoothes and fills wrinkles and imperfections, creating a smooth base for your eyeshadow. I've only used this a couple of times so far as I'm trying to save it for my holiday in July - the tube is so lightweight and is perfect for travelling with! I really like how smooth and easy it is to apply and it makes my eyeshadow much easier to blend as well as helping it to last through the day.  It seems to prevent it from creasing in the upper lid which I seem to struggle with after a long day at work.

Overall, a really nice little selection from Yves Rocher.  If you were going to treat yourself to anything I'd say go for the eyeshadow palette.  It really is a little gem of a palette and looks so much more expensive than it actually really does rival some of my high end favourites and it looks set to go in my suitcase this July.  You can find Yves Rocher makeup online here - all products are really reasonably priced and I can't wait to treat myself to couple more things from them... their powder blushes look very tempting!

Have you tried anything from Yves Rocher? What would you recommend I try next?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Glamour Spring Beauty Edit Box

When I heard through the grapevine about the new Latest in Beauty 'Glamour Spring Edit' box - I knew it would be a good'un.  With contents totalling a whopping £99, there was bound to be some beauty gems in there - and I wasn't wrong.  There's definitely some big names in the Spring box - Moroccan Oil, Nuxe, Kiko and Revlon to name a few.  It's safe to say that I couldn't wait to get my mitts into this one...

Packaged in a pastel coloured box and wrapped in dotted tissue, the Spring Edit box  is a pastel, girly treat containing 9 different products. Here's what I received in my box:

  • Model Co Creme Rouge Cheek & Lips in Just Peachy
  • Moroccan Oil Intense Hydrating Mask - 75ml
  • Beauty UK High Brow Kit
  • Rimmel Oh My Gloss! Lip Gloss in 'Snog'
  • Revlon Colorstay Nail Enamel in 'Full House'
  • Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat
  • Nuxe Creme Fraiche De Beaute Mask, 50ml
  • Kiko Long Lasting Eyeshadow Stick in 07
  • Elie Saab L'eau Couture Perfume sample

A delightful mix of hair, makeup, skin and nail goodies I'm sure you'll all agree! The box also comes with a 12 month subscription to Glamour magazine discounted by 62%...all for £16.99*.  I have to say I reckon this might be the best Latest in Beauty box yet... I've bought a few of them in the past and I've never been disappointed but this one really does top the mark for me!  As far as beauty boxes go - Latest in Beauty have to be my 'go to'... Yes, you loose the element of surprise slightly but you're never left feeling disheartened and there's always a fabulous variety of products to try.  I often check the website to see what's coming up...

I won't go into detail of each individual product as I'm still working my way through trying and testing all of them - let's face it, there's a lot to get through (i predict there might be a couple popping up in a monthly favourites sometime soon...) Personal favourites so far have to be the ModelCo Creme Cheek and Lip tint in 'Just Peachy'.  It's a stunning bright coral-red perfect for the summertime - I reckon this will be a holiday favourite for me.  As I'm thinking of booking a holiday abroad soon I'm sure I'll get plenty of use from this over the next few months.  I love a good versatile product too so the fact that it works well on the lips to is a nice fruity bonus!  

I'm also a fan of the Rimmel 'Oh My Gloss' lipgloss.  It's so smooth and glides onto the lips easily with next to no stickiness at all. I love the shade as it pairs well with my '90s' nude lipstick shades - I love it over Mac's Velvet Teddy at the moment! It just adds a bit of dimension and the pink hue is really flattering.

The Moroccan Oil Intense Hydration mask is also a winner in my books.  I love a good hair product and I'm always reaching for deep conditioners and masks like this one - I'd like to do a full review of this soon so for now I shall keep it short and sweet - but it's made for a very welcome addition to my hair cupboard.  I'm also super excited about the Nuxe Creme Fraiche De Beaute Mask. I've heard amazing things about this face mask, and after reading a few reviews of this box it's clear that it's been the star of the show. I can't wait to see what it does for my skin - I've been burning the candle at both ends just recently so to say it could do with a bit of pampering is an understatement...

I was also chuffed to see Kiko make an appearance in this box - i've always wanted to try something from the brand so this lovely champagne toned eyeshadow stick will make for a nice introduction. As for the other products, the BeautyUK eyebrow palette is a must-have in my collection. I actually already have this from a past beauty box but I've got a tonne of use out of it so it's nice to have back-up ready and waiting.  The Revlon polishes are a lovely addition too - I particularly like the blue shade as I think it's going to look amazing with tanned skin through summer.

Overall, I'm so happy with this box.  There's not a single thing in there I wouldn't use and I think it's been the best LIB box so far for me.  The mix of products is really well thought through and I like that the shades of the products are quite neutral - meaning i'll get plenty of use from them on a daily basis.  You can grab the Glamour Spring Beauty Edit box on the Latest in Beauty website here for £16.99*.

Have you got your mitts on this box yet? What was your favourite product?