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.
I had the pleasure of meeting Divya in 2016 when she and her husband, Rishi, travelled to Australia from India (she now lives in London as she's completing her PhD, which is incredible!). When she messaged me saying she'd be in the country and asked for some travel tips, I totally wasn't expecting her to make time to see me, but when she asked, I was super excited by the opportunity of meeting up with a blogging friend. While I have met other overseas Internet friends before, Divya is actually the first overseas blogging friend I've met. We had a lovely dinner right in the heart of Melbourne chatting away all night (I hope her husband didn't feel too left out!) and I had to laugh when she said she was fangirling over me! It was so cute and I can't believe I was someone worthy of being fangirled over!
It can feel a little nerve-wracking meeting an Internet friend for the first time, but from my experience, if you get along well online, there's no reason why it should be awkward in real life, especially as online friendships are typically based on mutual interests. Ever since my dad brought home our first family PC back in the early 2000s, I've always been somewhat of an Internet dweller; I suppose that comes from my introverted personality and finding it easier to express myself through words than doing so verbally.
I can be a pretty quiet person when you first meet me, but I open up easily once I feel comfortable and although I've never had trouble making friends through more "conventional" methods like education and employment, the online world provides us with a space to meet people that isn't based on circumstance, but rather, hobbies, interests and values that we actually have in common with people. That's definitely not to say I don't have things in common with my real life friends, but where they may not feel as passionately about something as I do, the Internet has always been my outlet for that.
Community plays an important part in blogging to me and it's only when I began forming friendships here did I feel like I had truly found myself in the blogging world. It's empowering to be a part of a community made up of women (well, mostly) and it brings me so much joy to share my love of beauty with those who feel as greatly as I do. I mean, my real life friends enjoy makeup and skincare to a certain extent, but I'm not sure how they'd feel about me rambling on about the pigmentation of a lipstick or have a clue what hyaluronic acid does! Before I found blogging, I was an avid user of LiveJournal where I met people who loved Friends and photography like I do (I was also a member of the now defunct online forum, Friends Boards!), and there were others who shared my taste in music too. Although LiveJournal died a long, long time ago, I still follow my old LJ friends on social media and I'll never forget how nice it was having people to fangirl over Ross and Rachel and mid-2000s indie electro with!
I've always been someone who's felt quite deeply towards their interests in life and I guess you could say the Internet has made me feel less alone in them. When I was younger, I used to wish my real life friends had the same interests as me, but then I realised that I actually didn't want them to change and that I love them exactly for who they are. My Internet friendships certainly don't take away from my real life ones; I love having people in my life who have their own separate interests because it means I get to learn about different things from them and expand my world view. The wonderful thing about having a diverse variety of friends and friendship groups is that they all bring out their individual qualities in me and both online and offline, I value each and every one of them.
This beautiful gift from Divya all came about after a complaint I made on Instagram Stories about Glossier not shipping to Australia. If you follow me on social media, I'm sure you'll know all too well that I tend to do that quite often! When she so kindly offered to send me over a few things, I initially declined because I couldn't afford to do a swap and send her a few gifts in return, but she kept insisting and so I gave in! Divya assured me not to worry about the money and when she told me she wanted to do this for me because I had a been a great friend to her, my heart just melted. It's a really comforting feeling knowing that I'm a good person to the people in my life. As you can gather, Divya went completely overboard and spoiled me (I was only expecting a few Glossier things!), and I thought I'd share with you what I was gifted because it's just too amazing not to! This isn't intended to show off the gifts themselves, but rather, the generosity and thoughtfulness of a beautiful person I'm so lucky to call my friend.
Knowing that there's no Urban Outfitters in Australia, Divya got me the most adorable makeup bag from the store and it couldn't have come at a better time because I had actually been looking out for a new one! Not only is it pink, but I love that the hardware is silver because I'm a strictly silver person when it comes to my accessories and jewellery. It's suits my skin tone better than gold, though I do love gold homewares. The inside of the bag was filled with all the Glossier goodies, which included the Cloud Paint in Dusk, Boy Brow in Brown, the Balm Dotcom in Cherry, a restock of Milky Jelly Cleanser and lastly, a sample of the You fragrance. What a total babe, right?!
I initially wasn't a fan of the Cloud Paint shades when they were first released early last year, but the more I kept seeing swatches of Dusk, the more it grew on me until it eventually found its way on my wishlist. It's not the pinky-brown nude cream blush that I'm still on the hunt for; Dusk is more on the peachy side on my skin, but the colour is still absolutely mesmerising and gives the most warm, sun-kissed flush to the cheeks.
Another Glossier product that took its time growing on me was Boy Brow. I wasn't that big a fan when I first tried my sister's, but when it comes to makeup, brow gel is hardly the most thrilling or groundbreaking product to me. I think I was also thrown off by all the models wearing it on its own; that only works well for no-makeup-makeup looks (figures as much as that's Glossier's whole vibe) and if I'm wearing a full face of makeup, I still like to go in with a brow pencil beforehand. Worn on its own or paired with something else, Boy Brow beautifully fluffs up the hairs, sets them in place and I love the small applicator too. It took a few goes, but I finally get the hype now and I'll definitely restock this for myself in the future.
As someone who's tried almost everything from Glossier now, there are a few misses within the line, but Milky Jelly Cleanser and the Balm Dotcoms are are two of the hits and are absolute standouts for me. I've been rationing my current bottle of Milky Jelly because I don't ever want to be without it, so when Divya sent me a backup, I was over the moon! Milky and jelly are my two favourite types of cleanser, so to have them combined and with a subtle rose scent (my favourite scent in beauty products), is just a dream. I definitely didn't need another Balm Dotcom (I already own the original, Coconut and Rose!), but all the different fun flavours of these just makes you want to collect them all! The Cherry Balm Dotcom leaves a visible pink tint on the lips and the scent is incredible; it smells exactly like cherry flavoured Starburst! They're a simple formulation, but they work and I can't resist that super cute packaging.
The sample of Glossier's You fragrance was a pleasant surprise and I was so excited to be able to smell this! You can never fully understand how a fragrance smells no matter how someone describes it and You is a lot sweeter and muskier than I initially anticipated. It's not my kind of thing, but I like it enough to use the sample up and I can't get over the scratch and sniff sticker! One of my favourite things about Glossier is their whole '90s vibe and you have to admit, that's some genius marketing right there. In my Urban Outfitters makeup bag, Divya also threw in a sample of the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. It's not something I ever thought about buying myself, but when she asked if I'd like one, I was still interested enough to try it out. I've only used it once, but so far, so good! Unlike a lot of masks that sit on top of the skin, this sinks right in and I loved the way my makeup applied the next morning.
Another thing from Urban Outfitters Divya gifted me was this cute illustrated boob mug. I feel like line illustration and boob artwork have become quite trendy lately, but I'm into it because I love the minimalism and the fact that it celebrates (as opposed to sexualises) the female body. I haven't started using the mug yet because I had to take photos of it first (lol blogger life), but I'm excited to have my afternoon cups of tea in this!
Just when I didn't think my beautiful present could get any better, this babe also went and got me a freaking Overose candle! I must've read over that sentence in her letter a thousand times before I opened it to see if it was really true! I even said out loud to myself, "What the fuck?!?!" because I was absolutely gobsmacked! She got me the Valkiria scent, which is the most heavenly blend of fig and peach, and I even find it slightly minty too. It goes without saying that Overose candles are a thing of beauty and I can't wait to get Nudesse one day because we all know how much I love my rose scents.
I'm absolutely blown away by Divya's kindness and generosity, and the attention to detail she put into my gift definitely didn't go unnoticed either.
I love how everything was colour co-ordinated pink and red, and one thing's for sure - the girl's got my taste down pat! I'm in love with everything this angel has gifted me and I can't wait for the day I get to return the favour. She told me all she wanted was for me to come visit her in London (bless), so I'm hoping I can save up enough money to make that happen next year. I'm looking forward to lunch dates and shopping trips to Space NK, Selfridges and & Other Stories! Of course, I won't be travelling empty-handed and there'll be Mecca treats and plenty of packets of Tim Tams for her! From the bottom of my heart, thank you so, so much, Divya!
I count myself lucky to have so many incredible women in my life I get to call friends and it never ceases to amaze me just how lovely and thoughtful everyone in the blogging community is. Divya isn't the only friend who has offered to send Glossier products to me (thank you Jess, Cindy and Jaye!) and just the simple gesture alone is enough to make me feel so loved. The Internet is indeed an incredible place to meet people and whether it's platonic or romantic, I'm glad that online friendships and relationships are becoming more and more normalised. Genuine connections with people are vital to our wellbeing and where that isn't always easy to come by in real life, the online world allows us to be who we really are with the people who are like us. From makeup to music, the Internet has shaped my life profoundly and I wouldn't be the person I am today without it or the people who I've met through it.