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posted by on 20 Questions, Fellow Bloggers

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I’m really happy to be able to bring you today’s 20 Questions as it has been a long time in the making! Jasmine is one of the first bloggers I engaged with (way back when) and we always have fun whether it be hitting Superdrug for some bargain make-up or drinking Baileys in the afternoon (before her baby bump came along!). I admire her videos, her honesty and her firm stance on using only cruelty-free cosmetics. She’s an absolute oracle as far as I am concerned and you really need to be following her. Check out her blog here

1)      Why did you start your blog?
It’s a lot easier than making a video, and I often forget to mention things in videos which I can follow up in a blog post.  I can explain things in even more detail or in response to a question I have received from a viewer. I started my blog because I had read a few and urged on by my friend Sirvinya I started my own.

       2)      How long have you been blogging for?
I had to look this up – 18th March 2009! It took me a while to find my blogging style and I like to write about a mixture of things – exciting discoveries and tips, gift ideas, makeovers, discussions and reminiscing about my make up misdemeanours!

       3)      What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I am sure that many bloggers say that it is both exciting and relaxing. I used to have great trouble writing essays, always hitting word count every five minutes to see if I was a miniscule way nearer to the limit. I don’t have this trouble with blogging though and it has really helped when structuring and writing reports and most importantly made it more fun. The only experience I had of writing was assignments and work reports. I write maybe one or two posts a week but I will have been thinking about them for a week or so, churning over thoughts and ideas before committing them to the blog. I like to be very sure about reviews and that they are going to be helpful and fair.

        4)      What frustrates you most about blogging?
Nothing really, I like to keep myself to myself and not get drawn in to issues unless I feel they are very important or threaten the things I believe in.  I think I will carry on blogging until I no longer enjoy it be that because there are too many others, plagiarism or that I am stretched too thinly too in life and career. The positives have far outweighed any negatives so it’s been a wholly positive experience.

        5)      How much time a week do you spend on your blog / reading other people’s blogs?
Every day I spend about 30 minutes scanning other people’s blogs and probably about 2 hours a week actually writing articles. Normally at a weekend or in the evening.

       6)      What advice do you have for aspiring beauty bloggers?
Write your blog for yourself and don’t measure your success on how many people read it or comment on the topics you post. Don’t accept products for review unless you are truly interested in the brand or product.  If you haven’t heard of them then spend some time investigating it before accepting.  I have declined as many as I have accepted for a mixture of ethical and moral reasons.  I don’t advertise (except for charities I support), I have to feel something for the brand or company. 

Then do it justice by writing a balanced review and always apply your context.  Just because something does or doesn’t work for you, express that clearly by using context of your skin type, how you used it etc… Never be bitter that a product disappointed you as there are plenty more fish in the sea!

        7)      What other hobbies/interests do you have?
I am a constant reader, I normally have about three books on the go at once.

I still enjoy making YouTube videos but I have to be really inspired by a technique I wish to show, a product I have enjoyed or a look inspiration. 

I am also learning Italian, it is slow going but such a beautiful language. I recently went to Italy for work and learned a lot whilst I was there.

       8)      How many bottles of nail varnish do you own?
About 80 + about 50 different Rebel Nail Wraps! And yet I still am not satisfied that I have found my ultimate colour.

       9)      Do you set yourself a shopping budget, or do you purchase on an as-and-when basis?
I have to be in the mood to spend on make up or have something in mind. I have items that I am always searching for, the best mascara or a foundation which doesn’t look dry, the perfect brown eye shadow or brow pencil. Is that normal? I rarely set a budget but I know my ceiling on price and what it should cost considering the ingredients.

       10)     What is your favourite make-up brand, and why?
This is actually a tricky question for me.  18 months ago I would have said Urban Decay for their fashion and cruelty free stance.  I still enjoy their products.

As a result of my Youtube and blogging activities (plus my 10+ years in business)  I get to see and try a lot of makeup.  In my previous job I was lucky enough to try make up direct from private label manufacturers. So when I see brands in the High Street, I can tell which manufacturer they came from… It has to be something very exciting and different to pique my interest. 

       11)     Do you ever leave the house without wearing make-up?
All the time if I am popping out but if for a social occasion then I do like to wear make up, I think it’s just become part of my pre-party routine and it relaxes me before going out.

       12)     What is your favourite beauty product and why?
Dermalogica Precleanse is my favourite and multiple repurchase, I think I am on my third bottle in two years?  I first used it before my wedding, the facialist used to bring in her own to use on clients.  I liked it so much I went and bought some.  I haven’t looked back!  I love a good oil cleanser but so few are soluble which means not getting your facial cloth filthy!  When you’re tired and just want to get your face clean as quickly as possible, Precleanse is brilliant. 

       13)     What is your favourite nail varnish of all time? (yep, only one!)
Sheesh this is very hard. My first ever nail polish I bought was as a student, the Spice Girls were popular and it was by L’Oreal (not that I would buy it now for cruelty-free reasons) and I haven’t found anything as lovely since. It was the most beautiful sky blue with pink iridescence. I can’t remember the name or number but it mesmerised me.  I nearly crashed my car staring at my nails! That would have been fun to explain to the insurance company.  Although I loved it, it wasn’t repurchased for fear of insurance claims.

      14)     Tell us about the best holiday you’ve ever been on
My best holiday was my honeymoon two years ago. We took a glorious three weeks off to travel up to Skye, stopping off in the Lake District, York, Edinburgh and Loch Lomond.

       15)     What would be your ideal day off?
Going to a spa for the day with a friend. Start the day with a light breakfast, go mad in the gym then swim and steam. Followed by a long lunch and a couple of treatments. Then back home for a barbecue! Much like last weekend, it was bliss!

         16)     What is your favourite TV show?
It used to be ER but it will always be Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

       17)     What music do you enjoy listening to?
I have eclectic taste, completely random. Sometimes I like to listen to Reggae, Ska, Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, Drum and Bass, Classical, Indie, Electro – I am heavily listening to the TRON Legacy soundtrack at the moment by my all time fave guys Daft Punk. My husband is a musician so we spend time singing (me badly) to my bump in the hope we can encourage it to be a musical genius!

        18)     What is your favourite food?
You can’t beat a good chilli laden curry, especially mine. At the moment, pregnancy means that I have gone off spicy food (pah!).  I can’t wait to get that taste back!

       19)     Where would you most like to visit in the world? (money no object)
China, Nepal, New Zealand, San Francisco Bay, Hawaii. Somewhere far flung and warm!

       20)     Tell us a secret…
A group of friends and I were asked to leave  a “goth” pub, I think it was my fault for wearing hot pink. There was a dress code and it involved a lot of black.

Thank you, Jasmine, and good luck with the pregnancy :)

Remember, if you have a blog and would like to participate in 20 Questions then please send us an email to the usual address.

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posted by on Mavala, Nails

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Good morning everyone. Isn’t this weather absolutely amazing?

And not only do we have sunshine, we also have some pretty cool Mavala nail varnishes that are being given away exclusively with this month’s Elle magazine (on sale today). I’m having a bit of a love affair with Mavala at the moment, after showing you some of their gorgeous summer shades a couple of weeks ago so I was really pleased to hear of the collaboration with Elle.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look shall we?

The Elle Orange is exactly that. Orange, with a lovely creamy consistency. It leans more towards coral than neon orange and is a great way to get on board the orange bandwagon if you haven’t already done so. This was three coats and it applied like a dream.

The Elle Red is is mid-toned red creme. Not too blue and not too orange, and flattering for most skintones. It’s a classic red, and the formula is lovely in terms of application. I did still have some visible nail line after three coats though but regular readers will know I have a devil of a time getting red polishes to opacity on my nails for some reason.

The Elle Grey is my favourite of the three and it makes me pleased that this shade of dove is still around for the next season. I never get enough of these types of shades and this one is a welcome addition to my collection! I’m wearing this now, as I liked it so much when I swatched these two coats that I wanted to do it as a full manicure right away.

So what do you think? Are you tempted by any one in particular? Or perhaps collect all three?

Helen

*PR samples*

 Have you voted for Just Nice Things in the Cosmopolitan UK Blog Awards? (Established Beauty Blog category). Click HERE to do so now!