Beauty Brain Freeze

beauty brain freeze

I’m back on the beauty bus, just about. Although I tried to film a video today and got fourteen minutes in before I realised I wasn’t recording anything… Anyway, lots of new things to test and a massive backlog of reviews that I need to write up, but before I get cracking on that I want to talk about my Beauty Brain Freeze.

Last year was a bit of a rocky one, if truth be known; I think that I lost it a bit after having Ted and tried to go back to work too soon. I thought, in my sleep-deprived fug, that I was ready for action and so was pretty much working full pelt by the time Ted was around four weeks old. Duh.

Then I decided that it would be a good idea to move house and, when the house we were buying fell through, I thought that it would be a good idea to still sell our house and rent until we found another. What a tit!

Then we moved to Bath, spent a stressful few months securing “dream house” and finally, just before Christmas, moved again.

During all of this kerfuffle, I developed what I can only describe as Beauty Brain Freeze. As someone who is hopelessly passionate about beauty, it was rather a surprise to find that by the end of last year I could barely be bothered to think about skincare or makeup or the latest body oil or newest facial technique. You might think that totally unsurprising, because who on earth has time to think about beauty when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan? But I always have room in my head for beauty, even in the most stressful of situations. It’s sort of like my release, my safe place, my mental comfort blanket – sniffing oils, clinking little glass bottles together as I sort out the bathroom cabinet, jotting down notes as I look over ingredients lists or press releases.

But no. I kept on drawing a blank whenever I looked at anything remotely related to beauty, perhaps because that meant it was related to work and I was – quite frankly – burnt out. I know that now (especially after talking to the amazing Michelle Roques O’Neil from Therapie yesterday, more on that soon) and so I’m trying to be kinder to myself and not set such ridiculous goals and deadlines. I want to be more selective over what I choose to write about, I want to be more efficient with my time and really hone in on the things I think will interest you – the things that really interest me!

And so I’m enjoying testing stuff again, I’m enjoying opening little packets and analysing the contents, I’m having a great time playing about with new makeup collections and being introduced to the latest skincare launches. The spark is back. I just need to fan the flames and we’ll be cooking on gas, baby!

This has turned into a bit of a ramble, which wasn’t the intention – and I don’t want to be the person who’s constantly making excuses, or being apologetic about there not being a post or a new video or long-promised feature on retinols. (It’s coming.) When I see other people apologising online for being “absent” due to illness or family stuff or – God forbid! – Christmas, I always think it’s just so unnecessary. I enjoy their work, so I’ll read it or watch it whenever it appears – it doesn’t impact on my life if it fails to materialise. I just like it when it eventually pops up. If I’m so relaxed about their output, then why do I think that you would be any different about mine?

Anyway, on the whole Beauty Brain Freeze front, a couple of things I found myself doing last year that should have been a bit of a warning sign that I needed a Beauty Sabbatical:

Repeating Reviews. I would spend hours and hours researching a product because I rated it so highly. I’d take amazing pictures of it, write beautiful words about it and then, finally, Google it for the price only to find that the first search result was – yes – my own review of it. And not even an old review, a relatively recent one. This happened more than once. In fact it happened a dozen or so times. In one instance (with Sally Hansen’s Gel nail polishes, which are bloody excellent by the way) I completely forgot an entire job that I’d done around a product launch.

On the one hand it was good news, because it meant I liked something doubly or trebly, and genuinely was excited to write about it. Again. On the other hand, it was an epic waste of time and an indication that the old brain was not working at optimum levels!

Taking Pointless Pictures. I would sit for half a day, baby on lap, taking photographs of products I hadn’t even tried yet, because I didn’t want to test something before I’d captured the packaging in its untouched, unopened state. Silly. Waste of time. It has to stop! If I was featuring every single thing that passed through my office then things would be different, but I feature – literally – a tiny percentage of products I try. Probably less than ten percent. Why spend time creating beautiful images that will never be used? Why shoot something that may never make the cut? Total madness. I used to always start a blog post with the image – I couldn’t, for some reason, write the words if the image wasn’t there first. I’m going to try and switch things around; test the product, do the notes, write the proper words and as a last step – if the feature makes the cut – take the photos. Time saved per year? About three hundred hours.

I’ve basically just made you read the contents of my brain, so sorry about that. I should probably just start a journal again so that you don’t have to listen to me bang on. But now and then I feel as though it’s quite healthy for people to see “behind the scenes” – it serves as a bit of a reminder that it’s just me, here. Tapping away on my keyboard like a slightly unhinged, unkempt, battered version of Carrie Bradshaw. If Carrie Bradshaw wore Sainsbury’s tracksuit bottoms and had postpartum hair loss and had two crackling baby monitors perched on her bedside table.

Wouldn’t have it any other way.



© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Hayley
    January 19, 2018 / 11:21 am

    This post came at the perfect time for me. I tried moving house and I’m pregnant, studying, working and looking after a 7 year old as well as trying to adjust to living with my boyfriend. I thought I was failing at everything until I saw this post – I can totally relate to setting ridiculous posts and deadlimes. Keep sharing because life is as relevant as beauty x

    • Grace
      January 20, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      Exactly so!

  2. Agnes
    January 19, 2018 / 12:12 pm

    We love you.

  3. Poorani
    January 19, 2018 / 12:59 pm

    I actually like seeing photos of products that are used. Seems a more genuine review.

    • Kathryn
      January 20, 2018 / 11:34 am

      Seconded! The photos I really pay attention to are swatches or before and afters anyway. You’re doing a great job Ruth x

  4. Lisa
    January 19, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    We love your content and as you say we will be looking forward to reading it, as and when. It’s good to stop once in a while and take stock and then get back on the horse when you’re ready. I personally look forward to the beauty and skincare reviews of everyday products that just make your (and potentially our) life that little bit better. Good luck and look forward to some newness soon xx

  5. Louise
    January 19, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Ruth, you could write interesting posts about taking the bins out! Beauty stuff is great – but your ‘rambles’ are so entertaining and it would be sad if you stopped sitting back and reflecting. That’s interesting content to me.

    • E.
      January 20, 2018 / 7:22 pm

      Ha ha that’s so true! Actually that could be an idea: a kind of literary challenge where the readers select a strange boring subject to write about!
      Ho no, now I’m offering ideas for yet more work! Once a year for April fool’s day perhaps?
      Anyway just to say I also love reading everything you write Ruth. I’m not even really interested in beauty stuff actually, but I read every post!
      Just write about what you want and like and take all the time you need!

  6. January 19, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    I live for the behind the scenes you share! And I will forever enjoy the content you put up, if it is weekly, bi-weekly or every Monday after a full moon. Or just whenever.
    So don´t stress too much and fan that flame!

  7. January 19, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    Personally, I absolutely love these kinds of posts. It’s great to see the “real person” behind the computer.
    We all know you’re busy! No one with 2 babies isn’t.
    I think I speak for the majority of you followers, that we just love to have content from you, no matter if there are breaks in between. You’re health, family, happiness, and well-being come first.
    So excited to see what you get up to this year, and remember that you will always have an audience to come home to here <3

    • Julia
      January 20, 2018 / 3:31 am

      Well said, Katrin!

      Ruth – I love your rambles. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to read your writing, no matter the topic.

  8. Jen
    January 19, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    I understand what you are saying and you are not alone. The last year of my life involved life with a one year old, moving to the temporary then permanent homes, changing jobs, and caring for an ill mother who eventually passed. My brain has been useless. I wish you the best day by day.

  9. Anja
    January 20, 2018 / 5:30 am

    Hi Ruth, I do love your rambles! And I don’t see them as excuses for failing to deliver, quite the contrary they are a glimpse of your real daily life! I don’t want to see/read Instagram perfect posts, I quite like the real Ruth with post-partum hair loss and her lovely sense of humour. You make me smile/laugh on a regular basis and you should be proud and focus on that! I’m glad though that you found your interest in all things beauty again, but just because it means that you are happy again and enjoying things like that again.
    Love, Anja

  10. Angie mcnaney
    January 20, 2018 / 7:59 am

    You keep it real, and that’s what I love
    Don’t change xx

  11. Laura Wright
    January 20, 2018 / 9:53 am


    Please don’t stop your rambles, they make laugh and feel human – work often makes me feel like I’m loosing my marbles. Glad that you’re getting your mojo back!!


  12. Lulu
    January 20, 2018 / 10:01 am

    Thanks Ruth,
    I love your stories and updates. In a sometimes crazy world, they’re a breath of fresh air.
    Love Lulu.

  13. January 20, 2018 / 10:04 am

    I love your ‘behind the scenes’ Ruth, I love your brain and honesty. Can’t wait for all your 2018 posts. Bonne année 2018! Your pictures are great by the way, so your photography skills are appreciated!!

  14. January 20, 2018 / 11:36 am

    One of the major reasons why I love your blog and vids is that you’re so down-to-Earth and wonderfully relatable. As for the beauty brain freeze you find yourself in, dude, don’t sweat it. Take it easy, enjoy your family, and the rest will flow. Thank you for listening to my TEDtalk.

  15. Karen
    January 20, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    It’s great that you are seeing more clearly the ways to cut down your work time.
    I am trying to do the same with 15 month old twins.
    Sometimes it’s so simple it’s hard to see, especially through sleep deprivation fog.
    And yes, I love looking at your blog, but I don’t notice dates or the regularity of posts. If I fancy seeing what you are up to I sometimes pop to Instagram. It’s always a treat to see baby and pet photos.

  16. Sandie
    January 20, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    Hi Ruth, you are amazing, seriously! Your posts are so honest, refreshing, endearing and inspiring. (By the way, thank you for this post, it was perfect timing for my ‘Life Freeze” crash this week, it really did help me put everything into perspective.)
    I think we all need to take time out to smell the roses, so I hope you have some beautiful flowers growing in your garden to help you through this year :)

  17. wjs57
    January 20, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    No need to worry-who cares if you haven’t had enough time to test out a face cream-hey,it’s only face cream-you have had more important things going on. If you were employed in the usual sense you would still be on maternity leave ! Best for 2018.

  18. January 20, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    I second what Katrin says! And reading your blog/watching your videos also provides some comfort and encouragement to those of us who are also running small businesses!

  19. Alicia
    January 21, 2018 / 2:51 am

    Ruth, thank you for sharing this. In a time when even “behind the scenes” or “real” moments are edited, its incredibly refreshing to hear about the moments – or months – that can be challenging. As someone who has also felt the spark go out of the things she is passionate about, I found your post not only honest but also insightful… the burn out, and signs of it, are universal and I think we often miss seeing them because we never talk about them – the little, that can be come big, steps to feeling burnt out, hollow, worn, or frozen. So, thank you for sharing and know that we, your tribe, value your thoughts on everything from mascara to mommyhood. Best –

  20. January 21, 2018 / 5:28 am

    I totally feel you girl!!!! Just this past week I’ve been feeling really out of sorts and just generally uninspired! Today I took a long walk, made a mood board, and took a trip to Sephora… I feel so much better!!! I hope you have an amazing 2018 and can’t wait to read more posts! xo Lauren Will from

  21. January 22, 2018 / 7:49 am

    Definitely just take photos of used products, they won’t look as glossy and we won’t care. You can’t photograph everything on the off chance Ruth, that is madness! Hope a lovely nanny/assistant/photographer are in your future. No one can can be a full time parent and full time worker, outsource something! H x

  22. Lita Robey
    January 31, 2018 / 12:50 am

    I always look forward to your posts, photos and vids. Please keep them coming!! xx

  23. Mags O'Neill
    February 21, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Just as you say you like it when you see somebody’s post just pop up, I love reading/watching whatever content you create, probably because like you, I also have the two crackly (so old that they won’t charge unless sitting in the base unit things) monitors sitting on my bedside locker and take joy in having that small tiny thing in common with you! And my kids are 8 and 5 but my husband says he is “as deaf as a plank of wood” so I like him to hear them call even if I don’t!!
    Anyhow I also read your most recent post about losing your dad, and I send you my condolences. I feel so sad for you to be in that horrible painful period of time after a loved one has passed away, I don’t like to use that other word either and my lovely mother passed away two years ago. So getting back to what I want to say is, be absent as long as you need to be, do whatever the hell you want to do, I’ll be looking forward to whenever I see your beautiful pictures, videos or insta story ramblings pop up. Take care x

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