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.
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