The Irony Of Wanting People To Read Your Blog But Not Being Ready To Share Too Much

Today I don’t know what to write. I don’t because it’s difficult to understand what would really be interesting for readers in a time where we’re all being crushed by so much content, good or bad, just constantly, everywhere, at any time..

Do I want to tell you about my new favorite moisturizer because I’ve cleaned my bathroom cabinet just to take a pretty-ish picture of it? Do I want to tell you how I’ve been struggling with taking pictures for the blog because I don’t want to feature in those pictures that much? Do I want to complain about Social Media again and at the same time advertise for that blog post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for you to be able to find it and read it? Do I want to be someone you could easily identify to and at the same time want to keep my life super private? Do I want to tell you about how marvelous a blush is when I don’t want to show you my face? If I decide to not share too much of myself and focus on products, do I want to buy products just for the sake of reviewing them on the blog? Do I want to share a more personal column every week on here without getting too… personal?

Does the success of a blog depend on how much someone shares about their personal life?

I’ve been reading blogs for a decade but to be completely honest, I don’t read them anymore because I feel like they’re not as personal and authentic as they used to be. I believe I feel closer to the content creators who share bits of their life online but I am not ready to do that. Yet, I’d like more people to read this blog.

I probably like way more selfies than pictures of pretty flowers on Instagram because in a way it makes me feel weirdly connected to the person I’m following but also because, to be fair, it’s mainly the content I get on my feed. Does the success of a blog depend on how much someone shares about their personal life?

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This picture sums it all up.

I remember the first blog I discovered was Garance Doré. At the beginning she did not share pictures of her at all. She didn’t need to, I knew enough about her life because of how open she was in her articles. Then one day she posted a picture and I was so curious to see how she looked like. Then moved on because I was all about her stories and her writing, and this was way before Instagram got big so you weren’t witnessing everyone’s life from the inside like we are today.

Fast forward a few years and she was all over the blog. People were reading her, and following her extraordinary adventures probably because they felt like they knew her, how she looked like, who she was dating, what bag she had just bought, what journey she went through with her curly hair and in which city she lived. I emphasize on probably here for an obvious reason. Garance Doré is super talented, she’s an amazing story teller, illustrator, fashion icon, photographer but would have people cared so much if it wasn’t for the fact that they felt like they truly connected to her personality and personal life? I don’t have the answer but I feel like it played a massive part in the success of her blog. The blog is now called Atelier Doré, she has contributors, great content and it is more of an online magazine. I don’t read it anymore, because I don’t feel as close to the Atelier Doré Team and for some reason I can’t relate as much. What do I still read? Garance’s diary.

I don’t feel confortable putting “pretty” pictures of myself every other day on social media to get enough likes, talking about my personal life or sharing personal pictures so “followers” can feel like they know me to finally get an audience on social media so that people find my blog and maybe, maybe read the articles.

When I decided to open a blog, I said to my family and friends: “It’s going to be based on my experience with beauty, and style, and basically anything that inspires me and I’ve decided that there won’t be any pictures of myself.” Which, raised a few eyebrows for sure. And I tried, I really did because I really did not want to put my face out there. Also it was convenient for me to believe it would break the internet be a cool idea, maybe something a bit different. And honestly, quite quickly It felt a bit silly to talk about red lipstick without showing it on, and then about curly hair etc and also I could feel that new followers and new readers weren’t actually, deeply, connecting with my content. Which I completely understand. Who was I after all to tell everyone about my relationship with beauty, my favorite podcasts and so on? So I took a few selfies, got my little brother to take pictures of me, felt good about it for a hot minute… and then I had a big blogging crisis where basically I talked about choosing to grow an audience organically, take #prettyreal pictures and just try and do my own thing.

I did not realize at the time the subtitle of that also meant : I don’t feel confortable putting “pretty” pictures of myself every other day on social media to get enough likes, talking about my personal life or sharing personal pictures so “followers” can feel like they know me to finally get an audience on social media so that people find my blog and maybe, maybe read the articles. When I think about it it makes me laugh in a way because of how absurd it all feels. It’s like If I were to create a youtube channel without actually being featured on it, but still create content that inspires, questions, interests people and share my voice in a way, you know? Would I watch that though? Would you?

Now I’m in a place where I don’t feel like I want to share pictures of myself too often because I don’t really feel like it adds anything to my content. I want to write more personal stuff like the article about turning 30 but I also don’t want to share pictures of my partner or too much of where I live and I don’t feel like I want to talk on Insta Stories  when I wake up in the morning even though I really enjoy it when people do it on their feed.

(sigh)

Ah, the irony of wanting people to read your blog but not being ready to share too much!

I’m posting this long ramble because I’d like to know what YOU think. Why do you follow the people you follow? What makes you want to read a blog nowadays? Is my analysis completely wrong, do you relate a little, a lot? What makes you interested in someone’s content?

If you’ve read the whole thing, congrats and thank you! K, bye.

Elsa

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Monday Highlight: On Autumn Light And Clementines

This week’s highlight is a tad different. It is simply about appreciating the little things which is something I’ve been able to do lately, and it feels NICE.

I haven’t discovered a wonderful new podcast (hit me up with your suggestions by the way), nor have I read a great book (though I just bought myself “Call me by your Name” by Andre Aciman). What I have discovered however is how profound it is to sometimes appreciate the art of doing nothing. I am a daydreamer, and I like to just sit there and think. But with the constant pressure of social media, added to the basic every day life pressure, and the “will be 30” soon pressure, there’s just too much pressure to make the most of it/document/share/experience/ you know?

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So instead of just beating myself up with all that, I did nothing special last weekend and I loved it. Did not pick up my phone that much as well, which we’ll have to talk about in more details soon because the new Iphone feature that tells you how long you spend on your phone is the scariest thing ever.

Anyway, I’ve loved eating clementines and witnessing the autumn light in all its glory. Oh and wearing extremely pink blush, and a lot of it. And buying overpriced spices to cook something from the lovely Jerusalem Cookbook and instead devour a saucisson with bread and cheese. And drink English tea with so much milk in it it should be illegal.

What have you been up to this weekend?

Do you find it hard to enjoy life without documenting it, overthinking it, putting it in (scary as hell) perspective?

Try to master the art of doing nothing just for a couple of hours. Might help!

Monday Highlight: On Friendships

Even though I adore my friends and cherish the relationships I have in my life, I find it really hard, as a soon to be 30 years old, to not compare my friendship group to Friends, Will & Grace, Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, Girls etc. Actually Girls is very nuanced and is probably the closest to how complicated actual friendships can be. I still don’t really relate but it’s not as painful as thinking “Why am I not at least a few times week in a coffeeshop with my dearest friends having a chat about life?” Which by the way, is something I definitely did in my 20’s. Nowadays, it’s just not possible. With work, partners, kids sometimes, every day life chores, how would I be able to spend so much time with my friends? What is friendship anyway? Does it have to be super intense, frequent, enlightening every time and forever ever?

I have started to wonder about why my friendships look almost nothing like the representations of friendships I’ve seen or read about. And i’ts fine.

I don’t run into my friends in my neighborhood, I used to but a lot of them have moved.

A few of my best friends don’t live in my town, and some of them don’t even live in my country. Is this a generational issue?

I don’t go to brunch every Sunday with my girlfriends  because it’d be a nightmare to organize, our weekends being quite busy.

None of my friends have a key to my flat. I wouldn’t like that anyway actually.

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I do have amazing, funny, inspiring friends and I am so thankful because all these relationships mean the world to me. Yet I have started to wonder about why these friendships look almost nothing like the representations of friendships I’ve seen or read about. And i’s fine. The brilliant Haley Nahman wrote a very touching and smart piece on Man Repeller called “Does Everyone Have a Friendship Complex, or Just Me?”

Questioning what friendship is, what it looks like and how to look at it differently. From what friends mean to us when we’re little, to trying to make friends in NYC and the fear of friendlessness, Haley Nahman offers a very interesting, vulnerable, heartwarming reflection on a topic that’s definitely been on my mind lately. If you have to read one thing this week, make it this!

Oh by the way, every Monday, I will share with you an article, a book, a series, a film, a podcast’s episode, a style discovery, anything that has inspired me, hoping it’ll inspire you in return!

Monday Groove On!

Hating Sports, Feeling Powerful And Not Owning A Yoga Mat

I went to a yoga class on my own last week because I will soon be 30 and I am just slightly overreacting.

I hate sports. Well, I don’t know if I actually can say that because I simply don’t exercise ever. I went to the gym with a friend for almost 6 months, two years ago, and that was that. I was 27 and the last time I had done any kind of exercise was 10 years before, in college. Going to the gym was huge for me at the time. I was working remotely for the first time and needed something to clear up my mind once a week. But I gave up because I did not truly enjoy it. I liked seeing my friend, feeling tired after the session, but it wasn’t enough for me to keep going after the initial “Woop Woop I’m going to the gym” phase.

I am going to be 30 years old in less than a month (did I just say that twice in the space of two minutes?) and I am reflecting. I won’t bore you with the details of my labyrinthine mind but I felt like going to Yoga one day. Basically because I want to clear my mind, feel connected to my body and disconnected from the rest of the world.

It’s actually why I love skincare and makeup so much, because it does all those things, except I only feel connected to my face. I wanted to live in my body not drag it around if that makes any sense.

Our rule in the class is that we all have to wear Lulu Lemon’s gear but apart from that, everyone’s welcome!

I have always been intrigued by Yoga, but couldn’t find a class at a decent price. Until I did. I emailed the Yoga teacher beforehand to let her know I was a beginner and maybe in the secret hope that she’d tell me “this class will be way too hard for you“, “Elsa? Yeah we know you around the block, you’ve always told everyone you don’t like sports? Well the joke’s on you, we don’t want you in the class“, “Our rule in the class is that we all have to wear Lulu Lemon’s gear but apart from that, everyone’s welcome“.

You know? That kind of s***** thoughts.

None of that happened of course.

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First of, going to this on my own felt really empowering. Though I’m quite happy with my own company, going to something related to sport by myself only trusting my motivation is something else. Something I had never done before.

I was ready way too early, had a cigarette in front of the Yoga building and, of course, met the Yoga teacher at the same exact moment. AND I had no mat.

As I’m getting older, I’m trying really hard to not care about what others think about me. I’m hard enough on myself you see. I’m also quite often thinking that people might have a specific opinion on this thing I said or this aspect of my life when in fact I’m the one judging myself. So as I went into the Yoga class, I tried to leave judgment outside the door. (Edit: I’m proofreading this article before it goes live. I never thought I’d write a sentence like “leave the judgment outside the door”. But guess what? Might sound stereotypical, obvious, whatever, I’m leaving this in the text even though it makes me cringe BECAUSE…it sort of worked!)

At first I thought, “What do you mean not compete with myself, Isn’t that the point of exercising?” You’ve guessed it, I was angry.

I had so many annoying thoughts on my mind. “What if I look silly, what if I don’t understand this movement, what if it’s too hard and I need to stop, what if they’re all really into and I feel like laughing because it’s only Yoga, come on!

I did want to laugh sometimes because of how bad I was, but sometimes I felt quite content because I could hold a posture, and was trying something new, on my own. I could see my younger self thinking “that’s what it must be like to be an adult” and I felt so damn proud.

The next session will be in two weeks. I think I might go back. The teacher’s lovely. It’s a small group of friendly, focused, quiet people. At some point during the class, the teacher said, “don’t compete with yourself, don’t push too hard. Just try and see what it feels like! And accept what your body’s able to do.”

Now, I’m so angry at so many things. At first I thought, “What do you mean not compete with myself, Isn’t that the point of exercising?” You’ve guessed it, I was angry. Then, I tried to think differently. I pushed my body to stay in whatever position we had to be in at the time, just a little bit, gently, not from an angry corner of my mind. I want to be stronger. That’s why I’m trying Yoga. So instead of just feeling frustrated, I reckon I used my anger to be strong, stay still, accept my limits but go all the way up to these limits. And it turned into power. It’s nice to feel – not in your mind, but actually feel, with your skin, your legs, your arms, your whole being – powerful.

I walked home feeling stretched out and realigned. What a cliché right? I really did though. In addition to that, I felt a new kind of power. When someone would ask me “Do you practice any sport?”. I used to say, Churchill style, “No sport!”. We’ll see what my future answer will be. Needless to say I don’t want to become an insufferable sport lover who tries to convince everyone to exercise or whatever… How annoying would that be?!

Oh by the way, I need to buy a Yoga mat, do you guys have any recommandations? No? Anyone?

Well, Nama-fucking-ste.

Beautiful films #2: What Even Is Masculine Style Anyway?

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We’re back with the “Beautiful Films” series!

The first one is here, and it’s about Andie Macdowell’s style in Groundhog Day. But today, it’s all about the clothes in some scenes of one of my favorite film of all time, When Harry Met Sally. The little difference is that I’m equally attracted to Meg Ryan’s style as to Billy Crystal’s clothing choices. Because, come on, wasn’t really the case in Groundhog Day.

What I LOVE in this film is that the characters wear my dream wardrobe : oversized clothes, big shirts, large trousers, blazers, sneakers, big chunky knits. Both Harry and Sally do. As a matter of fact, I think my favorite outfit from the film is Harry’s in this picture.

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White trainers, high waisted jeans and a cream jumper. One of my goals in life is to actually own the exact same outfit one day. We all have silly dreams right? Actually no, it’s not silly. It makes me happy just looking at it. I’d add gold hoop earrings like these ones and voilà! I quite like Meg Ryan’s jumper as well, though I don’t really wear skirt but might give it a go this winter… Actually, let’s be real I won’t, but I will sometimes contemplate the idea.

Would it make me less of a woman to wear men’s clothes? What are men’s clothes anyway? Also why do I feel extremely feminine in what one would call “men’s clothes”?

Speaking of skirts, and the fact that I’m way more inclined to wear a man’s outfit judging from this picture reminds me of an anecdote. When I was a kid and would say funny things my mother would write them down. She has a few post-it notes that she has kept with family pictures. One of these notes says :

Elsa, 4 years and one week old (isn’t it annoying when people say, “oh my son? He’s 38 weeks old!” I understand it makes sense when you’re really small, but 4 years and one week old I mean, what even is that? Anyway.) Seeing a lady wearing a suit I said : “I don’t like it, she’s dressed like a dad.

Well, I strongly disagree with my former self. First off, how stereotypical of me. But also I was 4 so… Still it’s interesting. Would it make me less of a woman to wear men’s clothes? What are men’s clothes anyway? Also why do I feel extremely feminine in what one would call “men’s clothes”? I don’t really have answers I’m afraid. What I do know is that I tend to like and appreciate clothes that would potentially be qualified as more “masculine”. Of course Diane Keaton in Woody Allen’s films is a great exemple of that. It definitely inspired me but I can strongly say, it’s not a phase, I’ve been feeling this way for so long, I shop in men’s sections, I’d gladly steal my partner’s wardrobe (he’s so well dressed as well, it’s almost annoying how chic he is), and when I watch Seinfeld though I find Elaine’s wardrobe interesting, I’m drawn to Jerry’s.

I think it partially has to do with comfort. In fact, I touched on that before.

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On an other note, this cream sweater is perfection and it’s very 2018 if I do say so myself. So in this picture, I’d wear Sally’s outfit. I’d quite like to get myself a similar item for this winter.

You know how sometimes a film is just so damn perfect, you feel sad just thinking what the (your?) world would be without it? Right. Not only the story and dialogues of When Harry Met Sally are phenomenal but the styling is very inspiring and timeless.

Do you come back to a specific film for style inspiration? Did you understand my rambling paragraph about masculine style?

Share your thoughts people!

“Following” These People Won’t Kill Your Vibe : The Podcast Edition.

So, you know by now that I’ve had a Social Media clear out and a little bit of a rant about self-help content. Today I would like to share with you the content I consume that I have found to be truly inspiring and mood lifting! The weekend is getting closer and I know that’s usually when I get the time to catch up on Podcasts, articles etc. But it’s also when I’m often the most vulnerable and therefore tend to compare myself to others. “I did not buy flowers this weekend, why is everyone else getting flowers and hanging around at lovely markets? I did not go out this Sunday, am I a failure? Why is everyone traveling so much, should I travel more? I really fancy junk food tonight, but should I have cooked something  yummy last week so that I only have to re-heat it now and feel great about myself?  

Sounds familiar?

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Right. Like I said in the title, these people won’t kill your vibe. This week I’m focusing on Podcasts because let’s be honest, I listen to at least one podcast a day, so it’s fair to say I’ve tried and tested a lot of them.

First off, Jules and Sarah The Podcast is probably one of the best piece of content I’ve come across to in the past few years really. It’s funny, heart-warming, inspiring, mood-lifting. Basically the idea is “ Two northerners Sarah and Jules now reside in hectic busy London. Together they waffle about cheese, festive shreds, news from the north and other such wondrous “life changing” information.

Jules is a global celebrity spray tan artist and now has his own Colour Correcting Self Tan brand, Isle of Paradise, and Sarah used to do radio, is a wedding celebrant and has just launched her new project based around the idea of celebrating yourself. They’re both wonderful and I feel like they’re my friends. Sarah’s Instagram stories are my favorite by far, and Jules’s positive thoughts are the best. Massive BABES, biggest crush of the year. It’s on every Friday, go listen!!

Quite a recent interesting discovery is Couples Therapy by Candice and Casey Neistat. It’s exactly what the title suggests. Casey Neistat is film maker extremely popular on Youtube and Candice Pool Neistat is the founder of the jewelry brand Billy and also runs Finn jewelry. They discuss the ups and downs of their marriage, friendship, parenting, and lives in the YouTube spotlight. It’s quite raw and intimate : sometimes makes me uncomfortable, often makes me laugh. It basically makes me reconsider and rethink the notion of couple and relationships which is worth it in my opinion.

Next up is My Dad Wrote a Porno. I’ve already talked about it a few months ago, and I stayed subscribed to it after my clear-out simply because it still makes me laugh out loud on the street which still isn’t my best look but I could not care less. The pitch is “Imagine if your Dad wrote a dirty book. Most people would try to ignore it and pretend it had never happened – but not Jamie Morton. Instead, he’s decided to read it to the world in this brand new comedy podcast. With the help of his friends, James Cooper and Alice Levine, Jamie will be reading a chapter a week and discovering more about his father than he ever bargained for.” Just give it a go, you will not regret it!

My last recommandation is The High Low by Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton. It’s about worldwide news and pop-culture so I find I have to be in the right mindset for it. It’s super smart, I love how Pandora and Dolly both bring their own twist and point of view on cultural news. They often tell the audience about the books they’ve been reading which always makes me want to read more. They’re simply amazing storytellers. It’s also funny sometimes and always enlightening. Great for Saturday mornings!

Next week will be “Following” These People Won’t Kill Your Vibe : The Instagram Edition.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll have a good, relaxing, non-triggering weekend! And if you need a bit of cheering up, I promise these podcasts will help.

The Day “Self-Help Content” Stopped Helping Me

The other day I told my partner, “I’ve heard something on this podcast that really made me think. It goes ” The only difference between you and the people who are successful, is that they’re doing it, you’re not“”. Well, something along those lines anyway. He looked at me and said, “Yeah (sigh), I don’t really connect to that, I mean, this kind of stuff just goes without saying. What’s the point of that kind of affirmation anyway?

I thought he had a point, but to be honest I also thought, because he doesn’t have Instagram or listen to podcasts, “Well, he doesn’t really get it, he’s not familiar with that kind of content. He might see it from a, not hostile per say but “meh” point of view.

A few days later, I heard the exact same sentence on another podcast, and for some reason, it made me feel really angry. I don’t know if I was angry at myself, or the type of content I ingest, or both, but I decided it was all a bit too much. What was? All the “self-help” content I listened to, watched, read about.

*When I talk about self-help here, I know the term probably is too vast, and a business podcast for instance might not be considered like self-help content, but basically to me it means, any content related to how to improve your life, be successful, be better at communicating, be confident etc. Hope it’s clear!

It started with a few success stories about people making it. It would usually go like this “I started from nothing, worked my ass off before and after going to my everyday job, and after a lot of hard work, not seeing my friends, or family because of the amount of work I was dedicated to throw myself into, it finally…worked. See what I did there?

Then I started to see people on Instagram telling their audience, “I know I posted this amazing photo of me on holidays looking glowy and all but just know that right now, I look and/or feel like shit.

I could not stop consuming stories about entrepreneurs, content creators, self-help book writers, people who inspired me. And, don’t get me wrong, some of them still do BUT, we’ll come onto that later.

Then followed, videos, TED talks, articles, Linkedin posts. They were all about the same idea, turned into a statement: you are responsible for your own happiness. Which, let’s be REAL, and nuanced, is so simplistic and just not true. It simply doesn’t take into account, culture, social background, education, life shit, anything. It’s an affirmation making you responsible for your own happiness but it sort of means that, if you’re not happy, well, guess what? That’s on you as well.

Then I started to see people on Instagram telling their audience, “I know I posted this amazing photo of me on holidays looking glowy and all but just know that right now, I look and/or feel like shit.” And everytime I saw that kind of post I thought, “Ok, then Why would you post that amazing looking picture of you in the first place? And then remind us that, hey, it’s not real life folks, don’t forget!” Some say, “I want my account to be positive, I want to spread joy”, etc. Which is a nice thought. Yet, they must be aware that this type of content does not have that much of a positive impact on people if they keep having to apologize for it, or deconstruct the images they put on Social Media for the sake of being honest and more transparent, right?

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It all started to make me feel dizzy, guilty and worst of all, small. I remember walking around in my flat, cleaning or folding my clothes away, listening to this podcast and hearing for the second time in a few days : “The only difference between you and the people who are successful, is that they’re doing it, you’re not“.

I stopped doing what I was doing, and said out loud, “Stop. This had to stop“.

I don’t want to meditate, or maybe I do, but ultimately, do I want to hear about other people LOVING it all the time?

Consuming all this so called “self-help” content was not helping me at all. Years ago I’d be excited about it, it felt really new and full of hope, and I guess in a way, it was really new and full of hope, and probably necessary as well. However that day, I thought, ” Too much “self-help” content is eventually going to fuck me up.

I don’t even think I want to be an entrepreneur. I don’t like to fake it until I make it. I don’t think it’s easier to give up than to pursue your dreams, it’s way more complicated. I don’t like making lists, I always loose them or if I don’t, I forget to tick the boxes. I don’t even like baths and candles, it’s so boring it does not help me to reset at all. I don’t want to meditate, or maybe I do, but ultimately, do I want to hear about other people LOVING it all the time?

I miss raw content, unedited honesty. I miss real life stories. You might argue that culture, online content should or could, amongst other things, make us dream. And I agree. The thing is what I was consuming was not making me dream anymore. Because you know what makes me dream? Real life. With its flaws, errors, misundersantings, wobbles, failures, successes, joys, hopes. All of it. I’m sick of the edited version. I don’t love the word authenticity but I’m going to be crazy and say that, I want more of it.

I want the good, the bad and the ugly.

This post is a bit rambly. You might disagree or think it’s just another rant against society, consumerism, social media, and it might as well be. Oh also, I’m well aware I might be contributing to that, yet aren’t we all? I’m not sitting here judging everyone, I’m just being honest.  Anyway, I’m now choosing very carefully what I watch, read, listen to “self-help” wise, and I’ll share it with you soon. I touched on that a few months ago, and I’ve already done a bit of clear out this summer. But it’s not over.

What do you think about all this? Do you feel the same or not at all?

This space is called Le Beauty Journal and I like to think beautiful things in life can be rough, raw and real. Same goes for happiness and success. Failures and disappointments. We’re just doing our best. Don’t you think we might need less “self-help” if we could just help each other?

It’s the little things you know.

Working From Home : 5 Tips To Be Productive

I’ve been working from home for the past 4 years. First I was a remote employee, now I’m doing freelance which is a completely different vibe. However, when working remotely my amazing manager and colleagues have shared their “working from home tips” with me over the years. I was definitely inspired by what I’ve learned on my own, and by what I’ve been advised… Though the first and only rule should be, you do you!

Why an article then you might think? Well because it’s always reassuring to read about productivity tricks because where to start right?

I was basically a Carrie Bradshaw in the making. Or so I thought.

But the actual truth in my opinion is : try things out, find a routine if you can but don’t freak out if days don’t look the same, if you’re not as productive as last week, if sometimes you find it hard to be motivated, if you find the line between personal and professional gets blurry or if you find yourself putting makeup on at 5.30pm because you haven’t left the house. It’ll get easier, and you’ll eventually find what works and what doesn’t work for you.

When I got this job where I’d work remotely, I thought “This is the dream. I can work on my computer from my couch in my pyjamas and have coffee all day long and not have to socialize with colleagues I don’t even find funny and…” I was basically a Carrie Bradshaw in the making. Or so I thought. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years…

  • Working from home is working, period.

This is key. What it means is, no your friends can’t pop around for tea so you have to make things clear for your friends, family etc. Working from home is great and it might look like heaven to those who don’t, but it’s still work. Let’s say you’ve decided to work roughly between 8am and 5pm for example, you’re as unavailable as they are. Why? Because you’re at work. Just so happens that work is located in your home.

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Try to make your office look nice if you care about that sort of stuff because it does help to get in the mood.
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You know how when you have colleagues, you take coffee/tea breaks? Well, take a little break during the day just to quickly reset and get your groove back. I always make sure I have a full pot of coffee ready in the morning to keep me going.
  • Get dressed. Or don’t.

Working in my pyjamas seemed like an absolute luxury and I believe it has to do with the fact that I hate waking up. I’m 29 and still struggling. In a way, keeping your PJ’s on means you don’t have to face the world the same way than when you get dressed, drive or commute to GO to work. You’re up but you’re still in the warm comfort of your own home, drinking coffee out of your own mug, wearing something comfortable.

Well, I hate keeping my PJs to work. Which in a way makes sense when you read this sentence doesn’t it? Would you wear your pyjamas to work? That’s what I thought.

However a friend of mine just loves it, and it does not affect her productivity at all, or only in a good way I reckon. I did try to of course because of this romantic vision I had and to be honest, I still have massive FOMO that I’m not one of those people who enjoy working in loungewear. I like to get dressed, wash my face, sometimes even put makeup on and then I head out to…my work space which is basically my living room. Though I have a proper office in there with a proper chair which is very important to me. It sets my mood and helps me realize that I have to get shit done!

  • Structure your day…

Try to start around the same time everyday, set a time to eat a proper meal for lunch and try to finish work like you’d stop working if you were in an office because everyone’s going home so why stay late if you’ve done what needed to be done. Of course in some jobs, you could always work, always do more, and find it difficult to actually stop. When I started my remote job, I was extremely committed to the mission and wanted to be sure I was working enough. I did not know when to stop and I’d end up at my computer at 8 or 9pm just refreshing my emails, checking projects that we’d be working on, trying to think of groundbreaking ideas… Let me tell you, I did not have one single good idea at 8pm on a friday staring at my computer. Basically, I found it difficult to stop working without feeling guilty so I told my manager. She helped me to set tasks and to structure my day but also, and that’s the main thing I guess, I knew she trusted me to do a good job. The only problem was, I wasn’t trusting myself. That’s a whole different issue BUT to help with that feeling, making lists, creating a routine and try to avoid procrastination really helped. So I started working fro 8am-ish to 6pm with a lunch break in the middle and when my partner would come home, I knew it was time to close all the tabs on my computer and put it away. I also disabled work emails notifications from 6pm so I wouldn’t be tempted to check and eventually answer. It’s a bit more difficult to do that as a freelancer because I only depend on myself but I try to stick to a real routine because it sets you up for success I think. There’s a time to work and a time not to, own it.

  • …but be flexible

If you have a doctor’s appointment, need to catch up with a friend or just suddenly want to get your hair cut you don’t have to take a day off. Enjoy! It’s one of the perks of working from home, you’ll finish work a bit later that day and that’s that. Allow yourself to make the most out of this situation. Also, working from home can get lonely so when there’s an opportunity for me to head out and talk to people, I take it!

  • Don’t forget to eat

I don’t eat breakfast though I really want to make it a new habit, but it means that if I realize at 3pm that I haven’t eaten anything, it’s bad. Set an alarm for your lunch break and stick to it. Don’t eat in front of your computer. Try and think about the meals you’re going to have during the week when you go grocery shopping. I hate cooking lunch for myself, so I tend to either eat something that me and my partner had the night before, or have something like a soup with a bit of cheese and a fruit for example. I’ve also recently discovered mackerel in mustard sauce which is quite nice… Ha, well, I’m sure you’ll do better than that, I’m the worst at finding things to eat in the flat and I don’t really know how to cook from scratch so it’s a work in progress! The main thing is to make time for lunch. People who work in a office take the time and it’s not being more productive in my opinion to eat a sandwich in 5 minutes in front of your computer. Take a step back, refresh your mood and ideas, come back to work.

Hope these first few tips helped and good luck with the working from home thing. Don’t feel guilty by the way if people don’t get that working from home is actual work, it’s getting more and more popular these days, they’ll understand it eventually. You just sit back and enjoy!

English summer, life discoveries and a well needed reset.

So, I took a break. What do you mean you hadn’t noticed it?

I know. I did not really think about it, I just took it which is good in a way, right? Holidays started with a long week-end around la Loire, followed by family events, then I went to London for about 10 days, came back and was basically in denial that summer was, in fact, going to end. Bring on autumn though, it’s by far my favorite season, but I have to say, I have loved this summer. It’s been crazy hot, I wore dresses every single day which you know was a new thing for me this year, I finished a book and started two new ones, I spent time with friends and family, it’s been NICE.

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To ease myself back into blogging I thought I’d share with you a few things I’ve learned and discovered over the past two months.

  • You’re on proper holidays when you have no idea what day it is. You’ve heard it before, but isn’t it so true? From my mother in law’s garden in the North of France to the crazy busy and hot Northern Line in London to my godmother’s vegetable’s garden in the middle of nowhere (I kind of had a connection with nature this summer, how insufferable of me!), I somehow managed to forget about days and time. It took me a few days of course but It had not happened in a few years, so I’m glad I was able to actually enjoy moments and not project myself in the past or the future. Oh you know what helps? Leave your phone away, don’t bring it everywhere with you, you will be fine.
  • Wine on the Eurostar is perfection. I mean I don’t even have anything else to say. Standard Premier was cheaper than normal tickets for some reason. Therefore, coming back home from London a little drunk because we had some free wine on the Eurostar was simply heaven.
  • Chemical exfoliation is not for me. I got super enthusiastic about being on holidays in London (I lived there for a year, that’s why I can’t shut up about it, I love it), and when in Liberty… bought myself the cult P50 by Biologique Recherche. Now, my skin has reacted quite badly to Liquid Gold by Alpha H in the past, not every time but a few too many, yet I really wanted to give a try to P50, and I could not retain myself when I saw the bottle on a (very lovely because Liberty’s a treasure for your eyes) shelf. Well, I applied it straight away when we came back home, and had an allergic reaction the next morning, that lasted 10 days! So I’ll stay away from chemical exfoliation for now.
  • Downsizing the number of people I follow on Instagram means I don’t have that many people to compare myself to. I took this decision after our holidays where I did not check my Instagram that much at all and consequently felt so much better about myself. I needed a bit of a reset. Of course I tried to find an app that’d help me to unfollow massive amount of people but I could not find anything that actually worked. They don’t make it easy for you, do they? So it did take quite some time but it was definitely worth it. Just be prepared if you’re thinking about it, might take an hour or so! I now only follow people who inspire me, and make me feel good. Easy peasy. I also have a personal Insta account with my friends etc, that I don’t use that much but it does allow me to separate the blog feed and the more personal stuff. I even got an Insta notification last week telling me “You’re all caught up. You’ve seen all new posts from the past 2 days”. Mad.

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  • Cerave hydrating cleanser if the perfect cleanser if you’re on a budget and have extremely sensitive skin. Extremely gentle, I don’t know about the hydrating claim because I leave it on for one minute but it does not strip the skin. I got it in Boots, but also found it in my local french pharmacy. Honestly, so good.
  • Real Techniques mini travel brush duo is cute and brilliant. Perfect size if you’re going away and of course, like all Real Techniques brushes, affordable and effective. Got them in Monoprix in my hometown, but you can get them in Boots of course, and online.
  • I need to start eating breakfast. I’ve never been a “morning person”, I mean, what even is that? (We’ll talk about that in more details in a different piece soon by the way.) I usually never, I mean ne-ver, have breakfast. It’s been like that since I was a kid. While on holidays, in my family and in London, I did have breakfast (i.e bread and butter) almost everyday and it made a big difference to my day to day life. So I’m willing to give it a go, I just don’t seem to find the motivation at 7am in my flat but I will make an effort. Might be life-changing for all I know, and everybody’s been banging on about it for decades so you know, thought It might be time I’ll think about it!
  • Now THAT, is a good show. We have been watching Treme the HBO TV series by David Simon who also is responsible for The Wire, probably my favorite TV show of all time. My friend really sold it to me and she was right : It’s brilliant, revolting, smart, moving, funny, best summer discovery.

That’s all for now! Hope you all had a lovely summer. Do share your highlights if you have any, I’d be interested!

I’ll be back, not in two months, no no, like, this week? This week!

Little Things #1

I’ve been a bit busy lately, but the good kind of busy. Still, I haven’t been super present on the blogging front, so I’m hopefully making it up to you with today’s blog post. I’m coming back with an article about those little things that make life better, you know? It could be something you read, your new mug purchase (hint hint) or buying yourself some flowers. Little things #1 will be a series because there’s never too much things to be inspired by I think and here’s the first episode. Oh and I’d love it if you shared yours in the comments actually!

1. Glossier Cloud Paints

A friend of mine recently hooked me up on some Glossier goodies which I am SO thankful for! I got boy brow in brown, stretch concealer in light, the Glossier You solid perfume (which I’ll tell you about soon) and two Cloud Paints, one in Puff which I’m almost finished of so I needed (yes I am using that verb, because I truly need this stuff) a new one and I also got the shade Haze, a dark flamboyant pink which I LOVE. The formula is still excellent, and the pigmentation is unreal, you only need the tiniest amount. I also really love the finish on lips with lip balm underneath, glossy and deeply pink.

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3. Old Hoop Earrings

I got these like 10 years ago at a flea market, but I’m falling in love with them again. They’re simple hoop earrings, they’re not gold plated or anything though they seem to last pretty well over years. I love pairing them with a pair of white jeans, sneakers and a boxy t-shirt. Or with a dress if I’m feeling extra fancy. Great and simple style addition if you ask me!

2. Marc Maron WTF Podcast

I’ve written an entire post about my favorite podcasts, but I have to reiterate on this one because it’s so brilliant. Today for instance, I listened to the episode with Jason Alexander (from Seinfeld amongst other things) and it was great. Marc Maron is a great interviewer and though I don’t listen to all the episodes because I don’t know all of his guests, I often just click randomly on the list of shows and am never disappointed. I find that this podcast simply is the best destination for smart and inspiring conversations!

 

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4. Vichy Mineral 89 serum

Now, this serum is so good to my skin it’s the best discovery I’ve made in months. Vichy Mineral 89 is packed with water, 89% of mineral water actually which to be honest made me a tad sceptical at first. Paying 20 euros for water? No no. Still, I wanted to give it a try because I was looking for a good hydrating serum with an affordable price, suitable for my extremely sensitive skin. This one only has 11 ingredients, and a really watery texture. Yet it works on my skin and it might be because it also has hyaluronic acid and glycerin. My skin feels more hydrated and soft (also it never got irritated because the serum is fragrance-free which is a huge plus for me), and I have to say, I feel like it’s giving me glow! I’ve been using it for 5 weeks now every single day, and I highly recommend it!

5. The Office Mug

I mean, do I even have to explain why? I LOVE The Office (US version, need to watch the original UK series) and I miss it from time to time, I need to watch it again actually. In the meantime, I got this mug, and it just makes me so bloody happy it’s insane.