Friday, 21 July 2017

'Blog to Win' & why it's shitty

We're halfway through 2017 now and blogging doesn't seem to be slowing down - if anything, it's constantly gaining momentum. New blogs are springing up every single day and it's amazing to see people sharing their passions, talents and knowledge online. I'm so proud of the community that has stemmed from a bunch of people sat in their respective bedroom and turned into something so big.

But. And there is a but - and it comes in the form of people taking advantage of bloggers, and exploiting us, and not treating us with the respect we deserve. Something I see fairly often are 'blog to win' competitions. Here's how it goes: Brand will contact X number of bloggers, telling them all about a new campaign, wording it so it sounds exciting & fun & something you'd love to be part of. Brand will ask all of these bloggers to write a blog post about whatever, including links back to the brand's site, generally advertising the brand on their blog. And if the bloggers do this, one blogger, the one with the 'best post', will be chosen to win the thing that all of the posts were advertising.

Are you still with me? It's complicated and it's stupid but I hope you get the gist of what I'm saying. Multi-million pound brands and companies are asking a bunch of bloggers to advertise them FOR FREE, under the guise of a competition, with ONE blogger getting rewarded at the end of it. It's like asking a bunch of producers to each make a TV advert, showing them all on TV but only paying one crew. And I'm not saying all bloggers always want cash for doing posts, not at all - rewards in the form of products are nice, too, you know, as a thank you for the hard work that goes into writing, uploading, editing, photographing, scheduling and promoting content on a daily or weekly basis. Just something to show that you're not simply using bloggers for free advertisement in the form of posts and links on their blogs.

Annoying also is that it pits bloggers against each other - who's going to have the best post, who are they going to choose, who's going to win?! When in reality, our talents and strengths are all so different and that's what sets us apart from each other. That's what makes the blogging community what it is.

The whole thing is unfair and embarrassing - when everyone knows you're a huge successful company with millions of pounds, with celebrity adverts on TV, it's bizarre to know that you'd exploit bloggers. People who've not long started out, who don't have as much experience dealing with brands and PR companies, might easily get sucked in; of course, I'm not saying everyone's naive and if somebody wants to do this, then that's their choice and their prerogative but some people genuinely don't know any better. And when bloggers do do this, it makes us all look like we're willing to work for nothing. And I know I'm not.

What are your thoughts on 'blog to win' situations?!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Garnier SkinActive Aqua Mask

I'm working my way through all of the masks in this range to review them, and the latest is the Garnier SkinActive Aqua Mask - which I failed at getting a decent photo of, because I was trying to get an arty one of it with water on it (aqua, water, geddit?) but it just didn't work out well at all. Anyway.

This is an extension of the Moisture Bomb range, and it has the exact same smell - so that's joyous. It claims to make the skin immediately more fresh and bouncy, with long term benefits of more hydrated, supple and soft skin. The mask has glycerin and pomegranate as the named ingredients, and also contains shea butter, water and a whole host of other stuff.

So - did it work? Yes and no. I wouldn't say my face felt or feels any more hydrated, but it definitely felt more plump after I'd used it. It's nice to use: cooling and jelly-like, and of course it smells amazing. This is definitely one you need to wipe off rather than just rinsing with water and your hands, but it doesn't dry/set down or anything like that; it also didn't irritate my skin, and I had a patch of eczema on my cheek so I'd been expecting the worst. For £1.50 it's a fairly decent face mask, it's just not my favourite of all the Garnier ones! More reviews coming soon, though, because I picked up a fair few of them in Germany last week...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Changos Burrito Bar, Liverpool

If there's one thing I've been doing lately, it's trying new food - and when Changos Burrito Bar invited me down to try a burrito I just couldn't say no. The bar is located on Dale Street in Liverpool, right by all the fancy offices - meaning it's ideal for your lunch hour as it's a bit like grown up fast food.

You can get white or wholemeal tortillas, nachos, or just the filling in a box if you're off the carbs, and then you choose what meat you want - chicken, pork or beef (and there's a daily veggie option) - and then you add fillings: rice, beans, cheese, crushed nachos, sauce, vegetables, guacamole, salsa, you name it. Then it's all bundled and wrapped up for you, and we got our's as a meal deal with a can and some extra nachos.

It's honestly like Subway for burritos and I truly loved it - the food was incredibly tasty, and it was ready really quickly meaning if you're in a rush it's perfect. The prices aren't too bad, either, and you can get beer too!

If you're in Liverpool and thinking about somewhere to go for a quick bite to eat (although the decor is to die for if you do fancy hanging about!) then I'd 100% recommend Changos Burrito Bar!

Have you tried any good food lately?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Make Up Haul, July 2017

It was recently my birthday and I got a fair bit of make up in the end - from Sam and through vouchers etc, and I have some other new bits too. Here's a haul...

I've ended up adding 4 setting sprays to my collection; okay so two are the same (MAC Fix+ which I know isn't technically a setting spray buuuuuut) and one is a repurchase (Primark's work out one which is amazing) but I also got one of the Gerard Cosmetics scented setting sprays, in the cucumber scent. Amazing.

I got a MAC voucher for my birthday so I made a big order - we finaaaally own a 217 eyeshadow brush, and I repurchased the Studio Fix Fluid in NW10. I also picked up Velvet Teddy at long last, and bought the original blue-brown pigment that I've been lusting after forever.  I'd tried a sample of the Face Protect Lotion SPF50 and it works fab as a primer, so I got a full sized tube. Last but not least, I picked up a travel size make up remover oil which I'm so intrigued to try!

As part of CarnLIVal I got a Technic cream blush palette, and I've been slowly getting into cream make up so I'm definitely interested in trying this bad boy out. Technic are one of my favourite affordable make up brands and they're a joy to work with.

In Nuremberg, I picked up three make up items: a Catrice foundation that I already own and absolutely love, as well as two items from Alverde, DM Pharmacy's own brand. I got a mineral primer which is pretty and glowy and lovely, and also a foundation which I'm yet to try but have swatched, and I think I'll like it!

Have you picked up any make up recently?

Monday, 17 July 2017

My experience buying European skincare

I travel a lot, and 99% of the time it's to various European countries - and of course, I'm a sucker for skincare and that doesn't stop when I'm out of the country. If anything, I become even more interested in how I can look after my skin. Pharmacies/drugstores in European countries always have such a huge selection, and for me it's like Wonderland.

My biggest tip would be to get the Google Translate camera app on your phone: it allows you to hold your phone up to something, and it miraculously translates the words. This is important if you don't speak the language of the country you're in; it means you won't end up buying something with an ingredient in it which you're allergic to, and you won't end up buying a face mask for oily skin when you do in fact have dry skin. It also just means you know exactly what you're getting before you spend your Euros! It's instant and non-invasive, so it's really easy to use.

You'll notice, probably, that there are brands we have at home on the shelves of European pharmacies - but don't skip over them, because I always find things that I've never seen at home. Things tend to get released a bit earlier in Europe, and there are some things that just won't ever make their way here, so it's good to have a look at what's on offer.

More excitingly are all the brands we can't get here: in Germany there's Balea, in Poland there's Ziaja, and in Latvia we discovered Rival De Loop. We have drawers and drawers of foreign skincare now, and it's just soooo fun to be able to use things that hardly any of my friends have tried, that we can't get our hands on easily - of course, it's tragic when I run out of something I love from abroad, but that just means another holiday in the pipeline...

Skincare seems to be a loooootttt cheaper in Europe, which is probably why I always pick up so damn much of it - but it brings me so much joy and it's definitely worth it!