The first rule of blogger diet club is never to talk about blogger diet club. Oh bugger. Blew that one.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have probably see my weekly motivational & supportive tweets with a few other fabulous bloggers on their Slimming World journey too. One of those lovely ladies just happens to be the kick ass Helen.
Helen is one half of the blogging duo behind www.just-nice-things.co.uk which for a while, I had to stop reading because Mr Tramp found out how much money i’d spent on pretty nail varnishes and NARS that I had fell in love with on the blog! Ooops!
If you don’t already follow Helen & Sheenie’s blog, I suggest you do so now… and kiss good bye to your pennies!
The interview is behind the cut….
Q : Tell us a little bit about your blog(s) and why you started it /them
I am one half of http://www.just-nice-things.co.uk which was born in February 2009.
I’d always really liked nail varnish even though I was banned from using it as a child after spilling a bottle of hot pink Cover Girl nail varnish over my mum’s prized cork-topped coffee table (hey, it was the 80s). It finally dawned on me that I might have an issue when I was shopping one day, brought my wares back home to show my flatmate, who then looked at me strangely and asked why I had bought a load of bottles of nail varnish that were the same colour. I explained (to deaf ears) that they were not the same colour at all and then for some reason, Googled the collection I had just bought (the OPI Russian collection). All of a sudden these wonderful sites opened up to me, like Scrangie and Vampy Varnish and I did nothing for the rest of the weekend other than read these blogs in their entirety.
Fast forward a few weeks and I realised that there were very few UK beauty blogs (hard to believe these days I know), especially those focussing on nail varnish and I thought I had something to offer the internet. I approached Sheenie, who is a qualified makeup artist, and asked her to get in on the act
and add her thoughts on things other than just nail polish. At the time, we had never met in person as we got to know each other through a fan group for The Apprentice on Facebook so in hindsight, it is all a bit weird, but still one of the best things I’ve ever done. And I am pleased to say that Sheenie and I
have now met up (a million times) and we get on famously, although there was an in-joke in the beauty blogging world for a long time that we were actually the same person as we weren’t seen in a room at the same time for about a year.
Q : What is your favourite part of blogging?
Without a doubt the random things it has led me to. I’ve seen streets of London that I never knew existed, drank champagne in some of the most amazing penthouse suites, been howled at by a tribal Wolfman, met the one and only Suzi Weiss Fischmann from OPI, and been interviewed (in the pool at
the Thermae Bath Spa) by Michael Portillo for a BBC2 TV series. Honestly.
Q : What is your least favourite part?
The expense. I still buy 99% of the stuff that I review and it is an addiction that I need to break. Rapidly.
Q : If you could go back to the time you started your blog, what would you do differently?
I would cut my nails sooner! I got a lot of grief from internet trolls about my long nails. I might also be tempted to start out on Blogger rather than WordPress. I don’t like the Blogger platform as I find it clunky and awkward but Google is king and the removal of Google Friend Connect from non-Blogger
blogs has meant that we have kissed goodbye to a readership that was at 3,000+ before the switch.
Q : What advice could you give to new bloggers just starting their blogging adventure?
Don’t expect attention to drop in your lap the moment you register your URL. Have fun with it. Don’t apologise for not blogging – in the nicest possible way, people probably haven’t noticed. Whilst I miss our readership, I’m still plugging away with it and trying to build it up again in the same way as I would if we were starting out from scratch. Also, be wary of joining media and advertising agencies – you can often create your own opportunities just as easily. Remember that any revenue that you derive from your blog via advertising or sponsored posts needs to be declared as a second income as you don’t want the tax office coming to find you… (I am so middle-aged!)
Q : What’s your shopping style – Budgeted, splurge or frugal? Do you ever shop solely with your blog in mind?
I used to shop with the blog in mind all of the time and at that point I knew it was getting out of hand.
I have several hundred nail varnishes & bits of make-up in colours or formulas that I don’t like and will never wear that I bought “for the blog”. Don’t do it, folks. You can have a blog sale but you’ll never recoup it all back.
Clothes wise, I’m a splurger as well. I like shopping. I don’t have an expensive designer habit though so I guess there’s a limit to how much splurging you can do in places like Matalan and TK Maxx. Thank god.
Q : What are your favourite brands and why?
OPI. I was introduced by my mum, who had discovered OPI via QVC and I still have more OPI polishes than any other brand. I like the colours, the longevity of them, and yes, I like the names too. Makeup wise, I love Illamasqua, who are the first brand I really built a relationship with, by attending one of
their makeup masterclasses in Selfridges (way back in the day before blogger events were invented) and my heart also belongs to Nars. I love the pigment and the creativity in all these brands’ products.
Q : Do you take inspiration from the media or do you go it alone and rock your own style?
I have my own style (or lack of). I’m too old to be faffing about with dip-dyed hair, leopard print leggings, Aztec nonsense or pastel jeans.
Q : What would you say your ‘signature look’ is, whether that’s make up or fashion?
Basically, a truck load of eyeshadow. I’m a bit scared of lipstick so tend to steer away from them. Fashion-wise I am a bit of an 80s rocker at heart so it tends to be basics with a slight gothy edge. You will never see me in floral print tea-dresses. Nails are always pristine, with no chips, naturally.
Right… now on to the more interesting questions – The personal ones. These are the ones I always wonder about bloggers!
Q : How old are you?
Q : What do you do? Student? Work? Profession?
I work in recruitment. But I don’t like telling people that as they tend to look at me like I belong under that rock with all the estate agents and car salesmen.
Q : What do you like to do when you aren’t blogging?
I have a rather strong and enduring relationship with Twitter. I also love watching films, reading novels and cooking. Stroking my antique & hard to find OPI polishes.
Q : What kind of music do you like?
Hair metal. Motley Crue, Buckcherry, LA Guns and so on. I am also beside myself with excitement that Faith No More are doing a UK tour this year.
Q : Happy to be seen bare faced or do you always wear make up?
I try and have a day off if I’m not leaving the house. I’d happily go bare faced to the shops or whatever but if I stand a chance of being “seen” by people I know then I will make an effort. It’s for the viewer’s benefit really, honestly it is.
Q : What do you love most about beauty and fashion?
I like how good you feel when you have something new to wear, or rediscover an old favourite item in the back of the wardrobe / makeup kit. The feeling of pulling off that perfect smokey eye is an addictive one.
Q : What do you hate most about beauty and fashion?
Sheep. Why do people all want to look the same? Baaaaaaaa.
And finally… the biggy…..
Q : If you had to invest in 1 designer piece… money no object…. would it be a pair of shoes, a handbag or a dress? I want to see pictures!!!
I wouldn’t choose shoes, a handbag or a dress. I would march straight into Boodles and buy this.
I go and gawp at it in Harrods occasionally but oddly I am yet to find the £36,000 that it costs. I wonder if they’d accept a few old bottles of nail varnish in exchange for it instead??
Thanks for taking part Helen, even if you are afraid of the North South Divide!