6 things I've learned in 6 months of blogging

Thursday, 12 March 2015

euhnella has been on the blogosphere for 6 months today! Yay! To think that six months ago today, was the day I finally gathered up enough courage to finally launch myself into something I'd been thinking about doing for at least six years. As someone who had a lot of false starts, I'm glad I've stuck to my word of the year and stuck with it, even when I have days where I think 'what the hell am I doing?'. Here are six things I've learned so far on my blogging journey:

I. To thine own self be true. Like seriously. This is a piece of advice that appears everywhere and will continue to appear everywhere in blogging advice until the end of Internet time, because it's important, and it's true, and you should always bear it in mind. So, of course, my natural inclination is to ignore it. When you first start a blog, it's usually because you've been inspired by others who have done amazing things with their online space and you want to do something similar. In all the uncertainty of finding yourself, it can be easy to compare yourself and want to be like the bloggers you admire and forget that what needs to be developed is your own voice. I do this all the time, and it leads me to feeling like my writing isn't my own, like my blog isn't my own, and doubt what I'm doing, and I'm sure I'm not the only baby blogger out there who feels like that. 

II. The niche thing is actually pretty important. When I first started out blogging and was reading the 'how to set up a successful blog' articles we know we're all drawn to, the word niche kept coming up. I understood what they meant by niche - finding your one area of 'expertise' that you're known for, narrowing down what you blog about specifically within a bigger domain - but I didn't get why it was so important when I just wanted to blog about beauty and lifestyle. How do you niche that? It's taking me 6 months to realise that what they really mean is: know exactly what you're blogging about, and narrow it down to a few precise categories that you can eventually be known for, and also make your life a whole lot easier because your blog has focus. That's what the niche thing is about: focus. And focus is pretty important in the grand scheme of things, and it also helps your posts, and you, not feel so all over the place. 

III. Not having a lot of readers in the beginning is a good thing. I go through phases where I worry about my readership size and my follower count, but at the six month mark, it worries me less and less. The more I read and discover about blogging, the more I want to adjust things, and so I'm forever changing up my content, sprucing up my layout or trying out different blogging styles and features, and whilst doing that my blog is all over the place. I'm trying to figure out what my niche/focus is going to be, and that seems to require a lot of trial-and-error. And it feels a lot better to trial-and-error knowing that at most about 50 people a month are seeing those errors. It's less pressure, and I think pressure and perfectionism are some of the things that kill potentially great blogs. Which leads me to:

IV. Blogging is a great way to beat the perfectionist bug. I am a perfectionist by nature, and sometimes the worst kind, because I rarely jump into an endeavour where I feel I won't get to be a perfectionist. There is no such thing as a perfect blogger. Aiming for high follower count won't necessarily mean that your content and reader interaction is at that same level; churning out daily high-quality content won't guarantee that people are reading it; being great at social media won't promise that you're also good at understanding what makes up a great blog. Being a good blogger means being a good all-rounder, and working at things that don't necessarily come naturally come to you but are needed in your blog, so you have to say goodbye to perfectionist inclinations. It's just not going to happen. I've come to see that it's just one of those things where you have to give it your best for that day, and wake up the next day and try and do better, rather than trying to be perfect. This mentality has definitely spread to other areas of my life, which I'm grateful for.

V. It requires self-discipline. I've come to realise that if you want to eventually have a successful blog, no matter what your definition of success is, it requires regular hard work. Even if you only blog once a week, you need to have that blog post up every week so that at the end of the year you can say 'look at these 52 posts I put that I'm proud of', and for those 52 posts to go up, you need to write them. And sitting down to write can sometimes prove to be the hardest thing, especially since most of us are also studying, working and/or trying to have a life alongside blogging, so dragging yourself in front of the laptop, and doing all the work that goes behind a blog post when all you want to do is curl up with a good book or your favourite show on Netflix, requires a lot of self-discipline.

VI. Community is a big part of it. I know this may seem obvious, but in the transition from only being a blog reader to being a blogger, I seemed to forget that you don't stop being one because you're the other. It's true that the time you spent reading blogs is suddenly for writing blog posts, but no blogger is an island. I think it's really easy to forget when you start blogging, since I do it all the time, that to really be part of the blogging community, you have to be active. I love it when bloggers share their favourite bloggers or give a round up of their favourite articles that week, or seeing how bloggers interact with each other on Twitter, and it's definitely one of the things I want to improve on as I think it'd not only improve my blog, but the blogging experience as a whole.

Now to actually listen to my own advice for once, and put these things into practise so that I can continue to grow euhnella in the blog I've always dreamed of. 

What's one thing you've learned about blogging? 

REVIEW: Kiko Milano | Top Pairs Blush

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Who'd have ever thought I'd end up owning limited edition beauty products? Not me, certainly. I usually associate limited edition with high end products, so it didn't occur to me until I was writing this post that that the Kiko Milano Queen of Hearts inspired 'Daring Game' Collection for F/W 2014  would no longer be available. Though you can still get your hands on some of the products, this lovely Top Pairs Blush in 02 Raspberry Rose and Peach is no longer available. 

Which is unfortunate because this blush is gorgeous. It was love at first glance when I saw the packaging - curved white packaging with a metallic diamond pattern repeated on the blush itself, with sleek gold detailing on the inside. I have a thing for palettes having amazing mirrors, and this is my go-to mirror for my daily make up routine because it's just the right magnification, perfect for any short-sighted ladies like me who struggle seeing where you're putting your eyeliner on without contacts in. 

The blush itself is also a dream. Highly-pigmented, you only need a small amount to get either a rosy glow or a peachy shimmer. On my skintone, the Raspberry Rose works best as a blush, whereas the Peach shade, with its slight shimmer, works better for me as a subtle highlight. It's a perfect every day blush, compact enough for travelling and with a great mirror to boot. Would have definitely recommended it if it was still available!

Did you try anything from the Kiko 'Daring Game' collection? What's the latest product you fell in love with only to realise that it was limited edition?

REVIEW: e.l.f. Studio | Lip Exfoliator

Monday, 9 March 2015

Though March is ushering slightly warmer weather and more frequent visits from the sun, it's still far from warm, and the persisting harsh winds are still paying havoc on my lips. I love my Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub: it's tasty and it gets my chapped lips nice and smooth. The problem is that it's not very practical. Enter e.l.f Studio Lip Exfoliator: all the benefits of a lip scrub in a handy lipstick shaped tube. 

I really like that all I have to do is twist up, give my lips a quick swipe, wipe away with a wet cotton pad or muslin cloth, and I'm done. Okay, so maybe it's not as fast as simply eating the lip scrub like you can with the Lush one, but I really like the fact that I don't have to dip my finger in a little pot, and the application is completely mess-free. Infused with Vitamin E, shea butter, avocado, grape and jojoba oils, this lip exfoliator leaves lips smooth and moisturised. Followed by my favourite lip balm, my lips are instantly lipstick ready (or as ready as they're ever going to be - my lips don't seem to take kindly to lipstick).

I'm not a massive fan of the taste, which is quite sweet and not in a good way, but most of it goes away when you wipe the product with a cotton pad, and it's a small gripe compared to how soft and moisturised the product leaves my lips feeling. I've been using this for a good month now, and I would 100% recommend this for anyone on the look out for an affordable, easy-to-use lip exfoliator. 

Do you use a lip scrub or a lip exfoliator? What's your favourite?

Make Up Revolution Haul

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Life would not be complete without new Make Up Revolution products to add to my growing beauty pile. It's a known fact that once you start blogging about beauty, your make up collection starts to grow exponentially. Luckily there are brands like Make Up Revolution which are kind on the purse strings, pretty decent on the quality, and pretty awesome when it comes to coming up with product names. Here's what I picked up recently:

These Radiance Light Illuminators are the raison d'être for this entire haul. When I came across this highlighter palette, I knew it needed to be in my collection, especially after watching one too many Tanya Burr videos and lusting after that glowy, bronzed look. I think a decent highlight was the one thing my make up collection definitely needed, and I'm looking forward to working these three gorgeous colours into my make up routine. 

I'm yet undecided as to whether I prefer powder or cream blush, so when I saw this cream blush palette, I decided to pick it to finally answer the question. With 6 pretty pink shades, I think I've got my blush needs covered for the year, and all for under €10. 

THE EYESHADOWS | Beyond Flawless Ultra Eyeshadow Palette €10.85
With a name like Beyond Flawless, how on Earth was I supposed to pass this up? I hesitated between getting this palette and the 'Flawless' palette  which is a matte palette. Since I already have the 'Essential Mattes' palette from then, I thought the warmer, bronzer, tones of 'Beyond Flawless' would be more up my street. 

THE CONTOURING PALETTE | Euphoria Palette - Bare €8.14
I'm not sure if you can tell, but I find it very difficult to pass up Make Up Revolution palettes, and this Euphoria Palette in Bare is no exception. I love the idea of having six eyeshadows, blush, bronzer and highlight all in one place, and not having to worry about how to match them up. And the full-size mirror that comes with these sleek black palettes never disappoints. I'm not entirely sure how well the bronzer will go with my skin tone but we shall see!

I have so much love for the Ultra Brow Arch & Shape Pen from Make Up Revolution it's not even funny. If I can't find it in the morning there is absolutely chaos. So I thought I'd pick up their powder eyebrow kit, and see how it works for me. I couldn't wait to use it, and tested as soon as the post woman had delived it, and first impression? Meh. I'm a little wary of the shades - they might have possibly needed to come out with a Dark/Darkest eyebrow palette - and I'm not sure I even like the pigmentation, but we'll have to see. I've vowed to thoroughly test out a product before giving my opinion, so I'll give this a fair go before I decide whether I like it or not. 

I also received this super cute heart, which could either be a bronzer or an eyeshadow - I'm not sure! Either way I was very pleased to find it sitting amongst the rest of my goodies and look forward to trying it out (and potentially identifying what product it actually is). 

Have you bought anything from Make Up Revolution lately? 

GYST: To Know Is To Learn

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Ever since I declared that I needed to get my sh*t together, I have been trying to wrap my mind around what that means to me exactly. Now I've set my intention, I have to figure out all the pesky details, because as much as I love it as a life motto "Be like Beyoncé" is just not specific enough. 

Truth is, I haven't got a clue what it means to me to have my sh*t together. Well, I do in a way since otherwise I wouldn't feel the need to "get it together" in the first place, but at the same time, it is a very vague notion in my mind, and as we all know, when it comes to sorting out your life, vague is bad. I can't achieve something if a) I don't know what it is that I am aiming towards and b) I don't know the steps that are needed in order for me to get there. 

I do know however, that like with most things in life, there isn't one, all-encompassing answer. Not only do we all have differing ideas as to what a person who has their sh*t together looks like, there's the the fact that there are different areas in our own individual life that need to be addressed. For example, I would say that I have got my sh*t together when it comes to sleeping, and I don't mean the number of hours I spend in bed, but rather the quality. Thanks to the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, I can track my sleep, and make changes to ensure that the average 6-7 hours I spend in bed are the best (plus it wakes you up in your lightest sleep phase before the alarm goes off so you don't have a shock awakening in the middle of a deep juicy dream - I highly recommend!). 

It's a shame that I have yet to reach that level of quality in other areas of my life. 

The thing is, I didn't know about the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock until Tasha Green mentioned it in one of her favourites videos; I learned about it, figured out how to use it, and then used that to improve an area of my life that at the time didn't realise was really important for my overall health. I'm not entirely sure what other specific areas that I need to improve or how or where to start so I'm going to start by learning. The only way to know something you didn't know before is to learn about it, and thankfully for me, there are countless books, blogs, videos and other resources available authored by people who might provide me with ideas. 

So that's what I'm going to: I'm going to hit Google and search for books that might seem helpful, discover blogs on various topics that seem applicable to me, find videos by people who are going or have gone through similar things. I'm going to do as much research as I can so that I am armed and prepared to make the necessary changes. 

You know what they say: to get one's sh*t together, one must first know what that sh*t is

Do you have any books, blogs, resources that have inspired you to get your life in order? I would love to hear any recommendations!