Why I'm OK with Being a "Small Blogger"

When I first began reading beauty blogs 10 years ago, the blogging landscape was completely different to the one we know of today. Blogging as a job probably would've sounded absurd, and you never saw the terms "small blogger" and "big blogger" (or even "influencer", for that matter) being thrown around. Although I'm not really sure if there's a clear-cut distinction between the two, I know that I would definitely fall into the "small blogger" category myself; I don't have 10k followers on Instagram (my social media profiles combined don't even add up to that much!), my inbox isn't brimming with PR opportunities and in the seven years I've had my blog, I've never made any money. Being "small" in such a large, expansive community can feel quite discouraging at times, but of all the things that makes blogging so wonderful, numbers have nothing to do with it for me and I think being "small" is just as valid as being "big". In fact, I don't even feel like I need to be anything "more" than I already am and I'm actually pretty content with my place in the blogging world. As someone who's had quite a different blogging experience to the majority of bloggers who have been here as long as I have, I've written a number of similar posts to this in the past, and it's a conversation I never get bored of having because there's always so much to say and I think it's a really important one at that. I’ve learnt to really own my “smallness” here and I certainly don’t believe that "bigger" equals "better" (hence why you'll see scare quotes throughout this post). My intention of this post isn't to undermine what "big bloggers" are doing, but to simply highlight why being a "small blogger" is actually pretty great too.

Life Lately: June & July

Hi, everyone! Long time, no post! I never intended to go this long without posting, but between adjusting to full time work life, a few busy weekends and the grim winter weather (this one being the main culprit!), I haven't had much of an opportunity to put the same love and care that I always put into my blog. I know I let my perfectionism get the better of me at times, but I'd rather take a little bit longer to get a post up if it means I feel 100% happy and proud of what I do, and I just can't seem to let myself settle for anything less than that. I'm so bloody ready for winter to be over because I all want right now is glorious spring sunshine so I can have more than two seconds to take a decent photo! It's killing me!

Life Lately: May

Boy, has May been a whirlwind of a month! All in the best way possible though. I officially went from intern to employee at the marketing agency I've been at since February and that combined with so many social events going on has kept me quite preoccupied. My calendar for June is quickly filling up with more stuff to do and more people to see, but hopefully it'll be a little less full-on because this introvert needs her time to be alone and blog!

Talking About Toner

When I first began developing my skincare routine back in my late teens and early twenties, toner was typically something that was astringent, clarifying and rather quite drying. Laden with a high alcohol content, their traditional purpose was to rebalance the skin's pH after cleansing, but looking back, all they did for me was leave my skin feeling stripped and tight. Thankfully, toner has come a long way since then, as has cleanser, which you'll now usually find is properly pH-balanced. Nowadays, toner is considered a catch-all term for anything that's basically a lotion and they have a wonderful range of benefits for the skin including providing hydration and a refreshing pick-me-up, prepping and helping with the absorption of serum and moisturiser, as well as containing active ingredients that fight against acne and the signs of ageing. Some people also argue that a good toner will remove excess makeup residue left over after cleansing, but in my opinion, a good cleansing routine will do this all on its own without the need for toner and if you're finding traces of makeup, you're better off changing cleansing products.

Depending on your individual skincare needs, you'll probably have different toners in your routine to cater for different concerns. Some people don't find toning an essential skincare step, but it's something I enjoy and couldn't imagine my routine without, and in today's post, I've gone through my collection to talk about the toners I own, what they do and why I love them.

Life Lately: March & April

The last two months have probably been both the best and worst of my life. In the middle of March, my sister fell seriously ill one night and was admitted to the emergency department, followed by the ICU. I unexpectedly ended up taking a break from blogging as not only did I not have the emotional energy for it and needed to be there for my family, but between my internship and being at the hospital every single day, I physically didn't have the time either. I won't go into detail about what happened just because it's my sister's life, not mine, but I also didn't want to leave you guys in the lurch, so I hope this update on where I've been will suffice.

Anti-Haul #2

From mindless hauls, unnecessarily huge PR unboxings to uninspired new releases, the need for "more, more, more" here in the beauty community can be unrelenting. Truthfully, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth and makes me feel jaded, and the way in which it encourages excessive consumerism doesn't align with how I enjoy beauty. As someone who takes pride in carefully considered purchases and is unfazed by most new beauty launches, one of my favourite types of blog post to read are anti-hauls, whereby people think critically about products and talk about what they aren't going to by. Created by the fabulous Kimberly Clark (I miss her videos!), today I'm back with my second instalment (here's Anti-Haul #1) and in this anti-haul, I've tried to stay clear of the more obvious choices and choose products that perhaps you might find surprising coming from me. Sure, Benefit are tacky, Too Faced's cutesy image is gimmicky as hell and I have absolutely no interest in Kylie Jenner/Kim Kardashian makeup, but I hardly think that's anything new! It goes without saying, but if you love any of these products yourself, please don't let my opinion make you feel bad; in fact, feel free to tell me why you hauled them. Here are my reasons, however, why I won't be.

What I Learnt from a Digital Declutter

At the beginning of January, I decided to do a digital declutter of my social media accounts in order to start the year feeling cleansed and refreshed. It had reached the point where scrolling through Instagram was becoming tedious and uninspired, and I realised that it had actually been a fair while since my feeds got a good clear out and tidy. I know I'm not alone when I say that I bloody love myself a declutter and upon this digital declutter of mine, not only were my social media accounts given a new lease on life, but I learnt a lot too. Decluttering brings us a unique joy in life that you just can’t get anywhere else, and for those of you looking to declutter your lives online and have kept putting it off, hopefully my musings can inspire you to finally get it done.

Life Lately: February

February was a wonderful, magical and glorious month all because of one significant life moment: I saw Slowdive live! I'll talk more about Laneway in the music portion of my monthly update, but all I'll say for now is that two weeks on, I am still on cloud nine. There is truly no greater joy in life than live music.

The Joy of Internet Friends and a Beautiful Gift from Divya of The Conscience Fund

Growing up as a teenager in the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time on the Internet making friends with people from around the world who I shared common interests with. Now, as an adult in their late twenties, it remains a huge part of my life today through my blog. Having had my blog for almost seven years now, I've made my own little community of wonderful friends here, one of them including real life angel, Divya. If you don't follow Divya, she runs the blog called The Conscience Fund, which isn't currently active (I'm hoping that will change!), but you can follow her on Instagram for her lovely beauty product shots and mini reviews (she has excellent taste!). Back in December, we got chatting away through Instagram DMs when she asked for my address so she could send me over a few things from the UK that I can't get a hold of here in Australia. I definitely don't feel like I'm missing out on much in terms of beauty where I live, but there are still a couple of brands I wish I had easier access to (I'm looking at you, Glossier!) and I can't quite believe that a friend from the other side of the world would go out of their way for me like that. Despite me telling Divya not go to overboard, this kind soul got me the most beautiful gifts beyond belief, so much so, I was inspired to write about how great Internet friends are and my personal experiences with them, as well as to say a huge thank you to her.

Life Lately: January

I hope everyone's had a great start to 2018 so far! I always relish the fresh start a new year brings and January has had me feeling pretty positive and hopeful. I brought in the New Year with my mum and sister eating a nice dinner out and watching the fireworks in the city, and then spent the first few days of the month decluttering and organising my life. I decluttered my makeup, my skincare, my wardrobe and all my social media accounts, which took a lot longer than expected, but was so worth the effort. I'm feeling cleansed and refreshed!

Banishing Blemished Skin

Beauty is one of my main hobbies and interests not because I'm insecure and want to conform to society's unrealistic standards of beauty, but because it's fun, creative and feels good to indulge. For me, going about my everyday skincare and makeup routines is ritualistic and therapeutic, and less about how I present myself to the world and more about how it makes me feel. In saying this, I can't deny that correcting my blemishes isn't a nice perk about beauty and although I don't let my skin concerns get to me too much (I'm totally fine to leave the house makeup free), that doesn't mean I can't address them. In today's post, I've compiled a list of the different types of skin blemishes that concern me and under each one, gone into detail about the products I use to reduce, conceal and remove them. Nobody's skin is perfect, but this is what comes pretty damn close for me.

The Disappointing Beauty Products of 2017

It's not very often I write about beauty products that have disappointed me and that's because they aren't something I often come by. I'll declutter and pass things on if they no longer suit my tastes or if I have similar products I prefer over them, but for the most part, the products I buy have always lived up to my expectations. Having said this, the occasional product will, however, fall short and although I preach about not buying as much and making considered purchases when I do, I am still human and prone to making mistakes here and there. Other times, no matter how much research you do, a product simply doesn't work or isn't right. I don't necessarily regret buying these products, they're just things that haven't wowed me enough to ever think about repurchasing, and I'm glad I've tried them, but I'm also glad to move onto something different. In an oversaturated market, no one is immune to slipping up and I think it's so important to look at things with a critical eye so we can all make better choices in the future.

Hello 2018

Happy 2018, everyone! Apologies for the slightly belated New Year well wishes; I suppose I've always been fashionably late, but I'm here now and I'm excited to get back into the swing of things. Reflecting back on last year, 2017 was a bit of a nothing year for me and even when I thought I had stepped out of my comfort zone, it felt like it was all for nothing and like I never really got anywhere. But even in my circumstances, I still survived and sometimes in life, that's more than enough. Life definitely does suck on occasion, though I'm thankful I've never been one to dwell on those feelings and in this post, I'll be acknowledging both what I was grateful for in 2017 as well as my little goals for 2018. Like most people, I don't like to set myself resolutions with definitive numbers, but rather small, ongoing intentions to shape me into the best version of myself. To me, that is what self-care is all about and I think being kinder to ourselves can often say a lot more than any grand accomplishment.

Life Lately: December

And just like that, another year is done and dusted. I can never wrap my head around how fast each passing year comes and goes, but I suppose that's just life the older you get. I'm going to reflect back on 2017 and look ahead to 2018 in my first post of the New Year, but for now, we'll keep things focused on the month of December.

The Best Beauty Products of 2017: Skincare & Haircare

Taking proper care of my skin is something I've always been mindful of, but this year, I feel like I took on a more active role by researching skincare ingredients, learning the best way to apply them and understanding the science behind it all. It's really fascinating stuff and the more I learn, the more in tune I become with my skincare needs. I'm dreadfully leaving behind my twenties and turning the big 3-0 next year, so in 2017, I started taking more precautions to prevent anti-ageing while I'm still wrinkle free. In my quest to remain as youthful as possible, I introduced new skincare ingredients and discovered some standout products that have given me incredible results, and across haircare, I developed a really good routine to better suit my dry and frizz-prone needs. It's been another great year in beauty for me and in my final instalment of the Best of 2017 posts, here are the top skincare and haircare discoveries the last 365 days have had to offer.