Reflecting on 3 Years of Blogging | #3YearsofBTS

2 February 2017

Reflecting on 3 Years of Blogging Giveaway

How do I even start this post? This time last year, I wrote a big ol' post gushing about how much blogging has changed me, and all the amazing things that had happened. I feel like I've written quite a few similar posts, what with rebranding at the start of 2016, and writing my one year post-rebrand last month. I feel like I've run out of things to say. I guess I never thought I'd be saying that! Although give me a nude lipstick or five (or a GIN) and I'll be rabbiting on about them for for days...
I decided that I wanted to do a giveaway, because I didn't do one for my 2nd blogiversary (or blog-a-versary? Who the hell knows...), and I've been collecting bits and bobs for a couple of months in preparation. I thought it would be nice to give a little something back to the people who read this blog as it still surprises me that there are actual, real life people that read my rambles... 
Onto the actual post, I came across the Beauty Blogger TAG on Chloe's Way and thought it'd be fun to go old skool for this post. I've pinched some of the more nostalgic questions, as well as modifying a couple to touch upon what I've learned from blogging and advice for new bloggers too. Don't forget to keep reading until the end for details on how to enter the giveaway! 

Reflecting on 3 Years of Blogging Giveaway

Why did you start blogging and how long have you been blogging for?
If you err... haven't guessed by the title of this post, I've been blogging for three years! I know right, the gal who never sticks with anything in life has managed to keep up with this corner of the internet for three whole years! I started blogging really randomly, as I found a friend of a friend's blog that he did as part of his uni course, and was curious to see what it was all about. I actually posted my very first (and very embarrassing post) six months prior to publishing my first beauty post, and treated it a bit more like a diary. Very glad no one read my posts back then, and they have since been sent to the blogging black hole...
Whose blog did you fall in love with first? 
I started reading beauty blogs in 2013 when I first really got into makeup, as I was googling a lot of reviews trying to find out what the Holy Grail products were. One of the first blogs I remember reading was Miss Budget Beauty (now, which was closely followed by Vivianna Does Makeup (now The Anna Edit, and still one of my faves). It wasn't until six months later that I posted my first beauty post (on the Benefit Porefessional), so I don't know if it was other bloggers that inspired me to do so. Although I'd read these blogs, I definitely wasn't aware that there was a community. I blogged myself without using social media for a good couple of months, and when I discovered other bloggers on Twitter, it was amazing!
What are your favourite things about blogging?
I have to count meeting other bloggers as one of my favourite things - I definitely wouldn't have my current friendship circle if it wasn't for blogging. The people that I have met through the blog are some of the most lovely, supportive people I've met, as well as being totally like-minded! It's so nice to be able to have a good old gossip about the latest online drama with a gin in hand, but we've all become so much more than just blogging friends!
Blogging has given me a voice, and a platform to use it. I always felt like no one ever really cared what I had to say, or they ridiculed my opinion thinking theirs was so much better. Having my thoughts and opinions respected by other bloggers was such an amazing thing, and it's grown my confidence a lot. I'm definitely not as much of a doormat as I used to be, and I've since cut a lot of people out of my life that have made me feel inferior. It has made me a lot more aware of other people's views and backgrounds, and I definitely think I've become a lot more diplomatic and fair - I try to consider other people's opinios. Blogging is ace for personal development!
Being able to work with brands has also been an incredible experience. Not just for the "free stuff" (it's not ever really free anyway), but for the amazing feeling of knowing that some of my favourite brands value my opinion, and think my blog is good enough to be on their radar. It's allowed me to discover new products, and have new experiences, as well as create lasting relationships with PRs. Something that really allowed me to challenge myself in this area was working on the #EastMidsMeetUp last year, it's not easy to ask a PR for 40 products without feeling cheeky AF, so it's all about having the confidence to ask for what you want, and to be able justify it too. That communication element, whether it being via email, or networking at events is something that you're constantly developing by having a blog, and it can really add to your CV too!

2014 and 2015 photography comparision

What have you learnt from being a Blogger?
Where to start!? I've learnt so much about blogging itself - what to do, and what not to do (on that subject, check out my Dos and Don'ts for New Bloggers). I've definitely learnt through experience that not everyone in the blogosphere is genuine, which is a real shame, but 99% of people are ace! Just beware of people asking for money for blogger holidays, especially to LA... I've also learnt so much about how to manage a collaboration, and that not every opportunity is what it seems. I've always been true to myself and stood my ground when it comes to things like no-follow links and disclosure, even when its meant sacrificing a bit of extra cash, but it's really important to me to maintain integrity and honesty. The main thing though is that I've learnt so much about myself, and grown as a person. I genuinely feel like such a different person to how I was three years ago!
Have anything changed since becoming a Blogger? 
My approach to blogging has changed a lot since I started this blog. You might have guessed this as you're nearing the end of this way-too-long post. I've always been a bit of a perfectionist, and blogging's definitely brought that out of me even more. I like to do everything from the best of my ability, particularly when working with a brand. Another thing that I've become pretty pedantic about is my photography, it's a skill that I've really worked on developing, particularly in the last year. I've definitely become much more of a hoarder thanks to this blog. I have enough makeup, skincare and perfume to supply a small town, oops!

What advice would you give to a beauty blogger just starting out?

When it comes to beauty blogging in particular, you really need to spend time figuring out what works for you, and in the early days of blogging, it's imperative that you review products you already have. The blogosphere has changed drastically in the short few years I've been blogging, and joining that world now, you might feel like every gal and her dog is working with big brands. Don't jump the gun, you need to remember that behind every brand collaboration came years of hard work - refining your writing style, developing your photography and growing your audience. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor did Zoella pop out of the womb with 11 million subscribers. 
Most importantly, just do you. What really stands out in the blogosphere is individuality, and the bloggers who really grow to stratospheric heights tend to be those who are loved for their personality. Don't become a carbon copy of every other successful blogger out there (although there's always room for more marble and rose gold, right?). Lastly, don't get too hung up on stats. It can be so frustrating when it feels like you're not growing (trust me, I get those feels all the time!), but there's nothing more demotivating than dwelling on it. Enjoy blogging, have fun with it and don't compare yourself to other bloggers (too much, nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition!).

2016 and 2017 photography comparison
What was the first blogger hyped product you bought and was it worth the hype?
I'm not sure which was the first that directly was enabled by another blogger, but I got a mini of the Benefit Hoola Bronzer and I definitely wasn't that keen, it's too orangey for my pale skin and really dusty! Fun fact - I'm still trying to use that bugger up now in my Project Pan! I think MAC products in general were very hyped up in the earlier days of blogging, particularly their eyeshadow palettes and certain lipstick shades. I remember Ruby Woo being on everyone's Holy Grail list, as well as Creme Cup - I bought the latter and hated it for about a year, before trying it with the Kylie Cosmetics Candy K Lip Liner and now I'm able to make it work. It was a purchase I was angry about for a long time! I also picked up a MAC eyeshadow quad and was very underwhelmed, I got the shades All That Glitters (hyped, but a pretty shade), Satin Taupe (over-hyped, rarely used), Blackberry (pretty matte crease colour, zero pigment until you scrape off the top layer) and Cranberry (v v v hyped, nice but rarely used).
Recommend your top 5 beauty products... 

What are your top 5 makeup brands? 

This is actually such a difficult question! I really enjoy a lot of NARS products, particularly the power products and the Velvet Matte Lip Crayons. I discovered YSL beauty last year and I've been really impressed with their products and the packaging is always so luxurious, and the same goes for Charlotte Tilbury. Maybelline definitely has to be one of my fave drugstore brands, as well as L'Oreal. Both bring out such great quality, effective products for such an affordable price.

Reflecting on 3 Years of Blogging Giveaway

The Giveaway
 As I mentioned before, I've been collecting products since before Christmas, and I've come up with a nice bundle of things (the contents of the basket only, the diffuser, journal and basket itself are props and aren't included in the giveaway!) that I hope you will love too. There's a mix of products from brands that I adore, including a NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Or Multi Usage Dry Oil (I've been using their body oil for years and I love it!), a Bath & Body Works Vanilla Sugar Hand Gel (because I constantly have one of these in my handbag, and they're such a pain to get in the UK!), a Damask Rose candle from ace luxury candle brand, Farringdon & Forbes (because I couldn't not include a candle, and this one is so indulgent!), a set of Lab2 Eye Brushes (I have a lot of love for these after discovering them in the summer!), some products from Maybelline (because they're my fave drugstore brand and you'll thank me later because those highlight sticks are bae), a Lee Stafford Sea Salt Spray (have you smelt their products? Because OMG you need to!), and a couple more products that I love. One thing I really wanted to include was this lovely Book of Happiness. It's packed full of uplifting quotes to brighten up your day!

Terms & Conditions
  • This giveaway will be open to UK residents only (due to containing fragrance and nail polish, and also bc I'm poor AF and international shipping prices...).
  • It will remain open from 2nd February 2017 for three weeks until 23rd February 2017 at 23:59
  • The winner will be drawn at random using the Rafflecopter widget, providing the entries have been completed correctly, and notified via email by the 26th February.
  • The winner will be given 28 days to respond, to keep it fair and in line with current guidelines.
  • In the event that the winner does not respond within this time frame, I reserve the right to select a new winner.
  • If the winner unfollows before the prize has sent out, they forefit their right to the prize and a new winner will be selected.
  •  The prize will be send out via recorded delivery. 
  • If you are under 18, please ask parental permission as you will need to supply a postal address if you are the winner (obvs). 
  • There is no cash alternative. 
  • As always, I never discriminate against compers and they are more than welcome to enter any giveaway on this blog, although if that applies to you, please consider the fact that this giveaway has been hosted to celebrate my loyal readers, so please don't just enter for the sake of getting a freebie.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in the giveaway!

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