Today’s 20 Questions blogger is Sara from Belfast Beauty Love. I first got to know Sara though the medium of Twitter, and I was pleased when she started her own beauty blog recently. Focussing on a mix of high street products and industry news, Sara needs more followers! So what are you waiting for – check her out here
1) Why did you start your blog?
Initially, to share my love of cosmetics with the world, and also to highlight the fact that in Belfast and Northern Ireland we are at a disadvantage. Major brands are relative newcomers to our part of the UK, and some still haven’t ventured across the pond. I wanted to make people aware of what is out there and what’s not easy to get.
2) How long have you been blogging for?
My blog is still very much in its infancy – it has been on the go since January 2011.
3) What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I find it really satisfying to see how posts I’ve planned out in my head will come together online, and how the photographs and words used will portray what I felt about the product. Also I think the learning curve is immense. From the start of my blog a few months ago, there is a definite difference to where I am now. I love the writing side of it and am constantly thinking “Oooh that would make an interesting blog post!”
The other thing I love is checking out where people have found my blog from. Some of the search terms which have directed people to Belfast Beauty Love are hilarious – “and I got stuck in a traffic jam”, “fooling around in China”. Crazy!
4) What frustrates you most about blogging?
The sheer amount of time it takes. Photography is probably my biggest challenge. I have never been great at taking pictures, and I’m working with a bog standard digital camera. From trying to find the best light in which to take pictures, to editing those photos to picking the best ones – that takes an age.
5) How much time a week do you spend on your blog / reading other people’s blogs?
Not enough! Every three days or so I take a good root round what other people are doing and of course I’m always following via twitter (and you can follow me on @Sara_Neill), trying my best to keep on top of things.
I usually have a weekday off every fortnight or so and I tend to do some mammoth posting then. I’ve also just enabled mobile blogging (told you it was a steep learning curve with me!) and hopefully that will give me the chance to do some more off-the-cuff posts!
6) What advice do you have for aspiring beauty bloggers?
Stick at it. It can be disheartening when your favourite blogs have thousands of followers and you have… three. If you enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter so much how many followers you have. And you never know when something will happen that will attract some more people to your blog.
Oh and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. My blog is a mere bambina and I’ve had some stumbles along the way, but other bloggers are really helpful and nice and their advice is invaluable.
7) What other hobbies/interests do you have?
Socialising. Isn’t that the answer everyone gives on job application forms?
I love to go out in Belfast with my girls for a night on the tiles. Even the preparation for getting dressed up, putting on my makeup and getting dolled up with accessories gets me excited!
I love to travel and explore new cities, when I finally get my butt down there I love working out at the gym and I really enjoy good food!
8 ) How many bottles of nail varnish do you own?
Ermmmm I’m going to hazard a guess at 60. I may be too conservative here, but I’m too scared to count how many I actually have.
9) Do you set yourself a shopping budget, or do you purchase on an as-and-when basis?
Oh I’m a total magpie. I buy things when I see them, usually on impulse. I have no budget other than I-really-can’t-afford-this-but-I-have-to-have-it.
10) What is your favourite make-up brand, and why?
Too difficult. I love Dior for foundation and mascara, MAC for their lipsticks, Urban Decay for eyeliners. If I have to choose, probably Dior, because I know I could survive on only their products.
11) Do you ever leave the house without wearing make-up?
I think once, about a year ago I went to the paper shop down the road without any makeup on. I prayed no one would see me and refused to look anyone in the eye. It was horrible.
12) What is your favourite beauty product and why?
Concealer. I tend not to wear much makeup during the day – just some powder, blusher and mascara, so concealer is must-have in my kit. I still get the odd spot and depending on how stressed I am at work, my under-eye circles can be pretty impressive, so if I didn’t have concealer I would scare small children.
13) What is your favourite nail varnish of all time? (yep, only one!)
This is more difficult than the favourite brand question! At a push, OPI’s Russian Navy. I bought it a few years ago and it’s my go-to colour if I can’t choose what to wear. Deep enough that it goes with most outfits, but not as severe as black and gives off a gorgeous shimmer. Think I might have to run off and put it on now!
14) Tell us about the best holiday you’ve ever been on
In my late teens I went to the Florida Keys with my parents. We’d done Orlando and a few other spots around the state, but the Keys were magical. Everything was so relaxed and the weather was predictably great. I loved seeing around Harry S Truman’s Little White House in Key West, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s winter estates in Fort Myers and got an elusive glimpse of Cuba from the most southern point of the US.
That holiday was one of my last with my parents, and I bought a little souvenir from Ernest Hemingway’s home that said: “I want to get to Key West and get away from it all.” That says it all for me really. I hope to go back someday not too far in the future and just get away from it all.
15) What would be your ideal day off?
Oh after a massive lie-in, a trip to the gym, then some shopping in Belfast making a big stop off at the MAC counter in Debenhams. I’d go for cupcakes in a cute little cafe behind the City Hall and then meet up with friends for after-work drinks in the John Hewitt or Fibber McGees.
16) What is your favourite TV show?
I shouldn’t admit this but I’m addicted to America’s Next Top Model. Now I’ve got that off my chest I also love The Inbetweeners, Desperate Housewives, The Big Bang Theory and Brothers and Sisters. Oh I also have the box set of Teachers which is never out of my DVD player.
17) What music do you enjoy listening to?
A little bit of everything – I know everyone says that, but honestly I mean it. I love some Adele, Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, Glassjaw, Robbie Williams, Bryan Ferry, Florence and the Machine, Faithless, the Deftones – we could be here for days because I love music about as much as I love makeup but you get the idea J
18) What is your favourite food?
I lived in LA for a year and in my village there was an amazing little Mexican restaurant. Their food is organic and all local. I still dream about their pico de gallo, chipotle sauce and sweet potato fries. And don’t even start me on their buckwheat pancakes….
19) Where would you most like to visit in the world? (money no object)
I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. I’m interested a lot in history and politics and I also love the sunshine!
20) Tell us a secret…
I don’t have any! Umm, maybe that on a day off (other than the one I described earlier) I love nothing more than leaving my hair to dry by itself, wearing NO makeup and jogging bottoms – and really hoping no one calls to the door!
Thank you, Sara! Remember, if you have a blog and would like to feature on 20 Questions, please send us an email to the usual address.
A few weeks ago, I had a very special delivery – a bouquet. Not wine (I don’t drink) or flowers but fruit. Feast your eyes on this beautiful display.
An array of sliced melons, oranges, pineapples and juicy strawberries…it did bring a tear to my eye to have to take it apart and eat it.
So what’s the story behind this delicious basket of delight? Well, Lypsyl, the lip balm brand of 30 years, has launched a new range of exciting fresh fruit flavours. Not only that, the conditioning formulation (Aloe Vera and Vitamin E) helps to protect and repair lips and the balms also contain SPF 15 for year round sun protection.
The new flavours are Watermelon Burst, Pineapple Passion, Cherry Blossom and Strawberry Polka-Dot (the last two are tinted subtly) plus there is still the original one.
I have pots of lip balms but I am not dedicated in using them. The problem is dipping my finger in a pot is a bit of an inconvenience and consequently can be messy and unhygienic so it’s a great thing that these handy lip balms on a stick are quick and clean to use plus the new flavours add a nice twist to the long-standing brand.
Available nationwide in major supermarkets and pharmacies, Lypsyl’s fruity lip balms cost £1.49.