“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.

Why Should Our Eyelashes Be Dark And Long And Our Body Hair Non-existent?

The other day, I was having my legs waxed, and because I find it boring and painful, I started a conversation with the beautician, and the subject was, as it often is, the tyranny of hairless legs. She said, “that’s very true, men don’t have to go through it. I wonder why, it’s so unfair. But I have to say it looks prettier and certainly feels cleaner when your legs are waxed.” I raised an eyebrow. I think I get to hear this sentence every single time I go to the beautician. No it’s not cleaner and why would we look better without it? Isn’t it the most natural state of the body? Also, why the fuck should we always smile and be pretty?

Now, I’m not blaming my beautician. I’m not blaming anyone really. It just makes me really angry to think that female body hair are so stigmatized. Also, to be contradictory because hey, I’m human, I wax and shave and epilate. All of these. And I hate it. But I do like how it looks. So you won’t find any definitive statement about body hair here, just a reflexion on this very summery subject, that I’m forced to face, only wanting to wear dresses and skirts because of the heatwave we’ve been having.

My mum doesn’t have any body hair really, and is a little bit proud about it, which really did not help when as a teen, I had to use Jolen cream on my mustache to dye it blond.

Today, I read a great article on Man Repeller written by Haley Nahman, the piece is titled, “4 Women on Loving and Growing Their Body Hair“. It’s a brilliant conversation, and definitely made me think, yet again, about how absurd having to shave/wax/epilate all the hair on our bodies is. One of the women being interviewed said something that stuck with me, “Your hair is who you come from, just like your eyes, lips and teeth. I love that. When I think about my bush, I think of bodies in the wilderness; we grow a natural blanket of protection.

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This really added a new perspective on my morning which I’ve spent exfoliating and shaving because I’m going away this weekend. Truth be told, when I read the article and scrolled down to see the pictures of hairy women, I was like ” hum, that’s a bit intense isn’t it? Oh wow, that’s how some women look with hair on their legs“. Because you know what? I’ve only, once in my lifetime, seen a woman sporting hair on her legs. I was in SF for a work trip, and this lady on the bus had a gorgeous dress and super long dark legs hair. Isn’t it crazy that it was the first time I’d seen hair on a woman’s legs?

My mum doesn’t have any body hair really, and is a little bit proud about it, which really did not help when as a teen, I had to use Jolen cream on my mustache to dye it blond. I was so envious of her and so self-conscious about my body hair. Though to be fair, she did tried her best to help me out you know, with dealing with those unwanted hair. I think I first got my legs waxed at 13 because she did not want me to shave, and told me that if I kept on waxing, I’d have way less hair as an adult. Of course, one summer, tired of having to watch my hair grow enough so I could get them waxed, I got my first razor, and the rest is history.

Boys definitely did not help with the body hair and stache situation. I grew up in the 90’s, I don’t think it got better, and have no idea how kids deal with it nowadays. But back in the days, it was very painful, and it has ruined the “already-not-that-high” self confidence I had. I’m actually so thankful for beauty bloggers who speak out about how they get rid of their body hair, and also thankful for this article on Man Repeller. You do you, for sure. I believe it’s brave in a way to let your hair go au naturel. I certainly don’t feel like I could do it anytime soon. Yet this article really made me think about the endless conversations about body hair with my beautician, my sisters, my friends… And after reading it, and reminiscing all the hair removal questions that I had when I was a kid, and all the shaming there is around body hair, I kept thinking : “Why should our eyelashes be dark and long and our body hair non-existent?

On that topic, I’d recommend you read Haley Nahman’s article, and read Man Repeller all together because it’s a super smart website. Nadine Baggott and Emma Guns did a good video about hair removal if you feel like you need advice in that department, oh and this conversation on, you guessed it, Man Repeller, is super interesting as well.

Anyway, no real answers but a lot of questions, thank me later right? I’d love to know what you think about this topic though!

This Cult Hair Brush Does Not Disappoint

I have been the proud owner of a Mason Pearson brush for almost a year now, and I felt like I had to share this discovery with you because, it truly is an amazing item. You may have heard of the brand, as it’s almost always featured in beauty and fashion magazines, celebrities interviews and on Into The Gloss as THE only hairbrush you should own. Well, I’m not here to tell you the contrary. It is absolutely worth the money, and has completely changed the way I take care of my hair.

I’ve chosen the Bristle and Nylon version, which basically is for normal to thick or long hair. I picked up the Pocket version because it’s cheaper (I paid 70 euros for mine in January 2017, I feel like it’s gone up in price since then, oops)  and also, the size’s great for traveling. Because, yes, these brushes are expensive. Here’s why, and I quote Mason Pearson’s website : “Mason Pearson hairbrushes are not mass produced. Most of the work is carried out by hand, using techniques pioneered and patented by the founder – Mason Pearson – over one hundred and thirty years ago and improved by succeeding generations.”

Therefore I’m happy to pay that amount, and I hope it’ll last for at least a decade!

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What I love about it is how it somehow massages my scalp when I use it. It is the best hair detangler (I own the wet brush, the Mason Pearson I find way better), the best way to make your hair super shiny and generally, and it might be thanks to the high quality bristles, it does for sure makes my hair look and feel healthier. It might also have to do with how dedicated I am to brush my hair now!

I bought mine on the french website Oh My Cream, and to be fair I’m glad I did because I feel like it’s not that easy to get them online. It’s definitely a luxury, I’m well aware of that. But you know how you buy brushes quite often because they’re never right and a bit cheap? I don’t have to do that anymore. The Mason Pearson brush is also a beautiful item, and seeing it on my bathroom shelf everyday brings me joy!

Is It Ever Really “Just Hair”?

You know how when you go to the hairdresser, you have this image in your head of the new hairstyle you want, of the new woman you’re going to be when you leave the salon. Right? Especially when you’re in need of change, and just feel like you need to do something quite drastic, but can’t actually think of anything else than, well, changing your hair!

The other day I had an hour to spare because I had dropped off my glasses to get them updated to a new correction. One hour. Not wanting to browse in a bookshop, not feeling like having a coffee (it would have been the 4th one that day so, no-no), not feeling like anything really. Except, maybe, a spontaneous haircut. I walked up to a salon I’d been before ages ago. Googled them in front of the door to check if I needed to book an appointment which obviously was completely unnecessary because, I was in front of the door. Do you do that sometimes? I certainly do when I’m not feeling my best.

I had this idea of a “Baby in Dirty Dancing vibe” you know? You don’t? She has curly hair. I do to. That’s about all we have in common, but it’s enough.

Anyway, I went in, someone was on the phone telling a client they had no spot available that day so I thought, “well, that’s that, spontaneous doesn’t work for me.” Then, I spoke to one of the hairdressers and almost apologized for asking if maybe they might have some free time now, like in, now. The guy was super nice and told me, of course, have a sit. I freaked out. Inside my head. But still, I FREAKED OUT. A minute before I was smoking a cigarette outside the salon, a minute later, I was having my hair washed.

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Obviously, there was a massaging chair, which I just do not like. Let’s be real, It’s NOT a massage. It’s like an annoying moving chair in my opinion. They asked me if I wanted coffee, I wondered, and quickly enough, remembered I was already way too caffeinated at that point. Then the “what do you want then Darling? Fancy a big change?” question popped up. Did I mention I was freaking out?

I had this idea of a “Baby in Dirty Dancing vibe” you know? You don’t? She has curly hair. I do to. That’s about all we have in common, but it’s enough. I also had this vision of Charlotte Rampling’s long layered hair with a grown out fringe. Usually when I go to the hairdresser, I bring pictures which really helps, if you don’t do that already, you should give it a try, it’s life changing. But I did not this time because, it doesn’t really go with trying to be spontaneous I guess.

I had envisioned this new version of myself, with layered but not thinned out hair, a long romantic sort of fringe, a newborn confidence and potentially a new inner strength.

There I am, in the chair, telling the lovely hairdresser that I want to let my hair grow, that I’m letting my curls be but I’d like some structure instead of a long grown out bob, and that a long fringe would look nice, right?

During the process, I’m thinking, “It’s fine. Hair grows. Oh that looks more like a proper fringe… Fine. I’ll have a fringe. It’s not like I can’t put my hair up. Is he still cutting my hair? Don’t look at the floor. Oh I don’t have to, I have hair all over my white jeans. Good. I have no hair left. Fine.” How dramatic!

I had envisioned this new version of myself, with layered but not thinned out hair, a long romantic sort of fringe, a newborn confidence and potentially a new inner strength, all that revealed by the best haircut of all times. I guess in a way, I wanted to walk out and be someone else which is not an easy thing to admit. However, I believe it’s fine to acknowledge it. Don’t we all, sometimes? I feel the need to mention that this is a rhetorical question.

 

 

Fast forward an hour. I walked out with the curliest hair ever and a straight fringe which is not the best look (see the photo, I manage it better myself these days, but not there yet!), tiny little hair all over my face and the immediate feeling of needing to pull my hair back. Got my glasses back and a compliment on the haircut which was lovely. Came back home and felt like I’d been in an actual roller coaster. Started to text my friends, and did not really get the answers I wanted because I was simply not able to formulate the terrible question. Was this a mistake?

Now, I’m not Baby, nor Charlotte Rampling, but even if it’s not exactly the style I had in mind, I feel pretty good about it. It’ll grow out and look better I hope. I do find myself having to sort of straighten the fringe because it’s quite short… Doesn’t this description makes it seem like it looks horrendous? Ha. Though honestly, I like it!

The moral of the story is : I’m not someone else. I’m not necessarily a better version of myself. I have freshly cut hair though. I am a tiny bit more spontaneous that a few days ago. I can now say, “I had a fringe once, it was not necessary per se”. Actually you know what? I am a better version of myself because I tried something new.

You might think, “OMG, what is she on about, it’s just hair!”

But, is it really?

Blogging On A Budget And The Tyranny Of New Releases

The other day I was telling someone  “I don’t know what to write about on Friday. I want it to be a beauty-related post but it’s not that easy to write because I’ve already told the readers about my all time favorite products and my budget doesn’t really allow me to get new stuff constantly“. That’s where I thought, here’s a post idea!

I buy the products I use myself and to be honest, I’ve been really into fashion recently, so my pocket money goes into dresses, jeans, and I’ve been trying for ages to find sandals that actually are comfortable and look good, not an easy task let me tell you! So there’s nothing new for me at the moment, makeup or skincare wise. And guess what? It’s fine. Especially because, I have a few articles all about what I use and love, and maybe you haven’t read them yet…

Buy new stuff turns into new discovery, turns into research online, turns into “oh I did not know that product, oh what’s the brands, oh it sounds like it’s going to change my life”, turns into well, buy new stuff.

Ha! Also, truly, it’s fine because why would we always have to get new stuff you know? I have a friend who’s as fund of makeup and skincare as I am, and we text and talk about it a lot. It’s great, it’s like when I was a kid, playing, it’s SO MUCH fun to get to share this passion. We both get really excited about new releases, new trends, makeup items, skincare discoveries. But I think it’s fair to say how aware we both are of how much of a “vicious circle of consumption” it can be.

That’s how it works for me : Buy new stuff turns into new discovery, turns into research online, turns into “oh I did not know that product, oh what’s the brands, oh it sounds like it’s going to change my life“, turns into well, buy new stuff. That’s one of the reasons why I loved skincare more than makeup when I first started to get into the beauty world. So many products feel like they’re going to make you bloom into a new version of yourself.

I remember back in December, having a couple of weeks where I felt quite down, and all I could think about was buying skincare. (…) I kept ordering stuff that I couldn’t wait to try, but hey, breaking news, I was still depressed, with a little less money in my bank account.

A version with a glow, healthy looking skin, fuller brows, plumped lips, smooth legs and bright under-eyes. I still deeply believe that skincare does actually change the way your skin looks and feels because there’s so many amazing products out there. Still, when you find a routine that works for you, that you sometimes switch up a little but mainly stick to, what’s left to talk about, when in the meantime, the beauty industry releases new products almost every single day? Honestly, I’ve completely screwed up my skin at some point because I was trying everything under the sun so I’m done doing that. Here’s the thing as well, I’m into this new trend thing, that you might have heard about… saving money!

I remember back in December, having a couple of weeks where I felt quite depressed, and all I could think about was buying skincare. I guess in a way I wanted to take care of myself, not just on the outside though. The action of applying skincare products really relaxes me and comforts me. That’s when my skin freaked out in a major way. I kept ordering stuff that I couldn’t wait to try, but hey, breaking news, I was still depressed, with a little less money in my bank account. Sometimes I buy a serum, I research it a lot, take the time to think about whether or not I’m going to buy it and I get really excited about the product, the idea of using it, the action of using it, and usually, I love the result. But when feeling down, it simply doesn’t do the trick. Regarding makeup, it’s a game I LOVE to play, but I simply can’t spend more of what I’m able to on it, and I have to stay wise, you know? Also, I’m quite low-key with makeup. I don’t wear tons, and for example, one eyeshadow palette is all I need. However, blush? It gives me life and I could buy a new one every week.

I just thought I’d share my view on this here because maybe you’re feeling the same or maybe you think this is old news, either way I’d like to know your point on view!So, let’s review the situation here : I don’t need anything at the moment skincare and makeup wise, because I’m all set, got a nice routine at the moment , AND, because I only buy stuff when I finish a product.

Regarding skincare, the last thing I bought was the Clinique Take The Day Off balm because it’s great, doesn’t irritate my skin, it’s basically a safe purchase that I “needed” because I have just finished my Oh My Cream Cleansing Balm. My last makeup purchase is from Glossier, I got the Haze Cloud Paint Blush thanks to a friend who brought it back for me from the US, but I don’t have my hands on it yet. The other stuff I got from Glossier? Well, old favorites. A Milky Jelly Cleanser, Boy Brow in Brown, the Glossier You solid perfume which will be a new discovery, and Cloud Paint in Puff that I already own but have almost finished.

I have a few skincare discoveries in the making but I haven’t been testing them for long enough to tell you about it. Though I do mention what I’m using at the moment on my Insta Stories if you fancy watching that! Do let me know your thoughts on this topic and let’s start a conversation, shall we?

On Buying Yourself Flowers And Feeling Pretty Good About It

Since I’ve decided to sort of re-start the whole blogging thing, meaning to reconsider why and how I was actually blogging, I’ve realized it’s :

1. Way more difficult to give more depth to the articles

2. Way more inspiring

3. What I’ve always wanted to do a.k.a write and share things that inspire me!

You know what I’ve always wanted to do as well? Buy myself some flowers. Now, you may think “it’s super easy to do, not a big deal, what is she on about hey?”

I’ve been buying myself flowers for years. There’s a lovely, very french, market every weekend approximately 5 minutes away from where I live but I suck at buying groceries. Every time I go to this market, I come home with burgers and flowers. I never know which fruits or cheese to get – well that’s a lie… I always know which cheeseS I wanna get -, some vegetables are still a bit of a mystery to me and let’s not talk about meat or fish. Basically going to the market to actually get stuff to cook with stresses me out.

So every time I’d go… “no, not a gift, they’re for me”. At first I was annoyed. But slowly I started to feel empowered by this question.

Yet, I find myself going back to this market, especially during spring/summer because I love the atmosphere : loud, chilled, smells lovely, people take the time to talk to each other… Oh and there’s a florist who sell gorgeous bouquets. I vividly remember the first time I got myself some flowers. I had no idea what the name of the flowers were and felt quite self-conscious about it, especially because in front of me in the queue, people seemed like bloody experts! When it was eventually my turn, I simply showed the ones I wanted to the florist. And then he said the sentence I was going to hear every time I’d ever buy flowers on my own. “Is it a gift?”

 

Non. No you don’t need to wrap them all up. They’ll be fine on their own and they’ll come home to a very nice household even if they’re not a gift per say thank you very much.

So every time I’d go… “no, not a gift, they’re for me”. At first I was annoyed. But slowly I started to feel empowered by this question. Buying flowers wasn’t a statement. I love flowers, and as soon as I moved out of my student flat into a more grown-up flat I thought it’d be nice to have flowers from time to time to lift up my mood and add a bit of color to my living-room. Yet it seemed like buying them for myself really was a statement. You know how for some people it’s not easy to go to the cinema alone? Well for me, it was the whole buying flowers thing. It gets easier though. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and maybe wiser, if it partly has to do with all the women I follow on Social Media who also buy themselves flowers and “treat themselves”… If it’s because we’re in an era of self-care and self-love, though to be fair I don’t think about it as taking care of myself, but it definitely is a comforting action!

It’s been a few years since my first visit to the market’s florist. Now, he doesn’t ask me anymore. And he gives me advices on how to take care of my bouquets. Also to be fair, it’s logical for him to ask if it is a present or not, because it could be. Next time someones asks me I might say, “Yes, it’s a gift. To myself. Wrap them all up like crazy please.”

In all honesty, if that’s what it takes to grow an audience as a blogger on Social Media, I hate it. 

I’m feeling uninspired because though my blog is only 4 months old, I’ve been stuck in a rut for a few weeks now, because I seem to have lost a battle against myself. Let me explain.

When I started this blog, I really wanted it to be a place where I feature makeup and skincare items and beauty stories that inspire me in a #prettyreal way. Meaning to illustrate my articles, I’d take pictures that would be realistic. If the tone of Le Beauty Journal was going to be honest and authentic, so had to be the pictures. I knew what and how I wanted to write, and this haven’t changed since I started. I also knew that the pictures would be a reflection of the content.

I’d carefully crease my bed cover so the product would look like it’d been placed there in an effortless way and it would look similar to the pictures I’d been seeing online, getting way more likes than mine.

So I told myself, “If my bronzer looks grubby, who cares, it’s real life. If there’s a stain on the side of my lipstick, who cares, it’s real life. If my shirt’s not ironed and there’s a socket plug behind me on that selfie, who cares, it’s real life.” But after only a few weeks of blogging, I felt like I had to up my game and take better pictures. I’ve had a personal account on Instagram for years now, and I’ve always loved shots that look real. Not too edited, spontaneous, raw. Just to be clear, I’m not criticizing people putting out amazingly shot and perfectly edited pictures. I understand it, it takes skills, passion and work, you do you! It’s just not my jam, it’s not the type of content I want to make or see on a day to day basis. Truth of the matter is, when I created @lebeautyjournal’s Instagram account, I sort of lost myself. Quite quickly. I soon decided to only post pictures that I’d taken with my reflex camera. I’d been seeing so many gorgeous, perfect pictures of beauty products, I started to worry mine weren’t professional enough.

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Not clean brushes
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Spontaneous Iphone picture

I thought I should use props like candles and vases and flowers and coffee mugs to make the overall shot look more beautiful. I went to a stationary shop and bought big sheets of paper, in pink, blue, red and black to have a neat, clean, background. I’d carefully crease my bed cover so the product would look like it’d been placed there in an effortless way and it would look similar to the pictures I’d been seeing online, getting way more likes than mine. When a friend got me flowers I thought, “Perfect, I’m going to use it for Sunday’s blog post”. I think I just wanted to fit in and be part of the game. But what game?

And I started to notice a pattern of actions that seem to work for some of these accounts. Comment (genuine please), like (same here but if you do it a lot, it’s better), host giveaways, tag and master social media interaction. I wanted in so I started to do the same.

I discovered when I launched my Instagram account that there are a LOT of beauty content related instagram account. I knew it had been a super trendy topic for years, and that the Beauty Industry was booming. In fact, that’s how my love for beauty became real: thanks to Youtube and Instagram, there was suddenly a new world to discover. Naturally, I’ve been following the biggest “influencers” for years and years. What I did not know is that there are thousands of people with small-ish beauty accounts on Instagram all trying to be creative and seen. I felt stupid to have thought that maybe I’d get people interested in my content. And I started to notice a pattern of actions that seem to work for some of these accounts. Comment (genuine please), like (same here but if you do it a lot, it’s better), host giveaways, tag and master social media interaction. I wanted in so I started to do the same.

I follow around 300 people on my personal account and almost 600 on my blog account. The difference between the two is that my blog’s account became a place where I’d follow beauty content creator to compare myself and keep up to date with beauty content out there, and basically try and get up there with all of them. I would like a picture to get a like in return. I’d post everyday because, well, you have to. I tried to comment on tons of pictures to get noticed. That’s how I started to loose myself.

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Dirty Lipsticks
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Broken blusher

Though before launching the blog, I had a pretty strong idea of what I would and would not do. I decided to launch my blog because I wanted to write in english about beauty because I’ve been SO into it for years, and not a lot of people around me care about this topic. I called it Le Beauty Journal because I’m french and I write in english. I thought the name was quite fitting because I knew I’d eventually start talking about style, books,  films, podcasts, all the things that make life more beautiful. That was it. And it’s been lovely.

To fix that, I questioned myself and decided I should at least try to play the social media game.

Some of you readers are from Russia, Australia, England, France, the USA… it amazes me! But for you to see what I write, I have to exist on social media platforms otherwise my blog is like a dusty book sitting on a shelf that nobody even knows about. What’s ironic is that I knew all of that before I started blogging, because it’s been like this for years, and my favorite Content Creators online who are all pretty honest and real, share their struggle regarding this shift in digital content. Also, I used to work as a journalist, and a Marketing and Community Manager, so I was fully aware of the problematic.

That’s why I thought, I’ll keep my goal in mind, stay #prettyreal, and it’ll be fun and maybe a bit different and voilà! I decided I would grow my audience organically. No robots, just work and consistence, just me trying to do my thing. I did stick to that. The thing is, the space is so saturated that when you start, you might be putting out stuff that’s a bit different or doing the same stuff everyone’s doing, you’re pretty much invisible. To fix that, I questioned myself and decided I should at least try to play the social media game. At first I liked it because I could see more likes and comment and consequently, my goal here, more readers on the blog. BUT, I’d loose the followers the next day, get crappy, fake comments below my pictures, get 50 likes from the same person so I would notice her/him and follow back. Here’s the thing: I like pictures on my feed all the time to support the content I enjoy and actually see it since the algorithm has changed, but I rarely comment. That’s just me, I don’t feel the need to comment, if I do I really have to have something to say. But I started to try to comment more and it was so dull. I never knew what to say, I was forcing myself. I’d also get likes on WordPress from people who would simply like ALL the articles in one go. I’d type in a hashtag in WordPress and Instagram and check out posts and articles with themes I’d be interested in, but after a few pictures and articles, it’d just get boring to try and find content that you relate to just so you can leave a comment in the hope that someone’s going to see it and click on your name and read your blog.

Isn’t it depressing? At the time I thought, “in all honesty, if that’s what it takes to grow an audience as a blogger on Social Media, I hate it.

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No one asked me to play the game this way of course. This weekend, I was at my mum’s house and my little brother told me my blog pictures were looking nicer and nicer. I said “aw thanks“, and thought “is it really what I want though? Shouldn’t my focus be elsewhere?“.

Do I want to create content that ultimately sets unachievable standards? Am I willing to, literally, fake it till I make it?

Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling like I’ve been posting pictures just for the sake it. Just to get more likes, views, comments, clicks. I still want all those things because ultimately, my goal is for the blog to find its audience BUT do I want to participate in creating content that’s polished and quite far away from reality? Do I want to create content that ultimately sets unachievable standards? Am I willing to, literally, fake it till I make it? There’s nothing new here. Everyone knows. But when you experience it, you still find it tough I think. That’s why I think I have my answer.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why people do it. I did it myself. I’ve tried, I’ve seen what it does to me (makes me feel miserable), and I’m hoping I can find a solution that will make me a happy, true to myself, honest blogger that’s all. I will still use hashtags because it does help me to find new inspiration when I’m scrolling through Instagram, so maybe someone feeling a bit confused by all of that might find some kind of authenticity on my account and blog. I’ll still post pictures that I find beautiful because I’ve always loved taking pictures but I will not obsess over “non-instagramable” details and I’ll shot things the way I want to, I will still try and find topics that are interesting for you and for me. I’ll try my best.

On that note, I strongly recommend you follow Sali Hughes, Caroline Hirons, Ruth Crilly, Joanna SpicerLeandra MedineThe Anna Edit, Lily Pebbles, and there are so many others out there putting out content I truly enjoy and am inspired by. I hope this piece makes sense. It’s spontaneous and not edited, ha! Let me know your thoughts on that, I’d be interested to hear more about what you think!

Have a lovely day,

Elsa

Spring struggle and a game changer

I’m not British but boy have I been talking about the weather recently! I think it’s something to do with having to use social media for the blog, those Instagram captions aren’t gonna write themselves right?  Also I’ve recently realized how much everyone talks about it online as well, which I find quite nice actually. I know when it’s snowing in NYC and raining in London, when the sky’s crazy in Paris, when it’s grey in Santorini…

I like Spring, I prefer autumn if I’m honest though. I prefer the fashion in autumn/winter, the smell in the air, the colors, the general mood basically. Spring is always a bit of a struggle. Because I’ve been hiding myself under big jumpers, coats and scarves. Because I have to find clothes that are comfortable and stylish which is not my forte. Because I forget how my legs actually look. Because I never find cute summer shoes. Because my makeup’s sliding off my face after a couple of hours. YET, I have found something that really helps. It’s fragrance, light as air, fresh as flowers, just a gorgeous concoction making me feel better when I struggle with Spring.

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Clarins Eau Dynamisante is a treatment fragrance. It is meant to hydrate and tone the skin, and work, as Clarins says, in accordance with the principles of aromatherapy and phytotherapy. I believe my mum used to wear it, probably my aunts as well, the smell always makes me feel nostalgic but that’s not why I like it. I LOVE the smell because it doesn’t get fresher than that. It smells like clean laundry (but actual clean laundry, not like all those perfume that pretend they do and actually smell sweet and full of alcohol). Imagine, a few hours after sunrise, standing in a field of flowers, there’s a little bit of wind but nothing crazy you know, just the right amount. You’re wearing a linen dress but did not bother with shoes. You’re feeling great, peaceful. Well, that’s what this perfume does to me! I also enjoy Eau des Jardins which is part of the same range, a bit sweeter, lovely as well, not as iconic but it has quite a warm and rich smell if you’re more into that kind of fragrance!

What I also find interesting with this product is that it doesn’t only make you smell good, it does, weirdly, gives a sense of vitality to the skin. It’s something you could potentially spray all over your body because it’s non-photosensitizing. So there you have it. Summer, I’m ready sort of for you!

The Style Story : Pretty confident about this blazer

Today I wanted to write about clothes and confidence. Though I’m wearing these amazing new white Topshop jeans, and felt pretty good about myself this morning, I’m now having a weird meh afternoon. It’s sunny outside, I’ve had the best weekend yet I feel really down. I’ve just reapplied some blusher, which is one of the things I realized I always do when I don’t feel the best. And I’ve also decided to go to the Post office with my new amazing crazy purchase, a Stella McCartney Blazer.

As soon as I put on the blazer, I felt taller. I’m already quite tall so it’s not particularly something I’m looking for, what I mean is, I felt elevated.

This item is my first designer purchase. I got it more than half price in the sales, let me tell you though, it still was super expensive. But I’m okish with it because it’s beautifully made, the fabric is 100% wool and the cut is impeccable. Also, I love Stella McCartney’s work and ethic. It’s an oversized fit wool checked blazer, with shoulder pads. It’s the kind of piece I’ve been dreaming about for years, and obviously when they were all the rage last summer I thought, “If I only buy one thing this year month (actually I had not bought anything since, got these fabulous jeans I told you about last week, and this dress from Mango, but more on that later), it has to be a wool checked blazer“.

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I believe it has something to do with my love for men clothes. I love a good oversize shirt for instance, with a pair of mom jeans and sneakers or black boots. To me chic means elegance and simplicity, and that’s where I want my style to be at. With that in mind, I knew this purchase was not going to be a mistake. I thought about it for about six months and voilà!

As soon as I put on the blazer, I felt taller. I’m already quite tall so it’s not particularly something I’m looking for, what I mean is, I felt elevated. Like I’d touched what Chic means in a way. Like I’d entered a world where I felt empowered, strong, sure of myself. Isn’t it weird that feeling like that depended on an item of clothing? Rhetorical question of course. But tell you what, I don’t even care. If this item showed me what it’s like to feel empowered and super strong, I at least know what it’s like even when I’m doubting myself, and I know I have it in me somewhere.

 

I have to say that I don’t think an item of clothing has to be expensive to make you feel amazing, I love all my clothes and they’re really not designer clothes. It simply has to be perfect for you, not the better version of you, not the when I’ll look my best, no no. It has to work when you feel at your worst. That’s how an piece is a game changer confidence wise. This article is actually going to be the start of a new series where I’ll feature my favorite clothes items and tell you all about them…

This morning, on my way to the Post Office, I felt fabulous. And that’s something right?

Style is like makeup to me. It inspires me and makes me want to dare, experiment and play. Is it the same for you? Or do you find it boring/overwhelming/stressful? (I do to sometimes…) What’s the ultimate piece in your wardrobe that makes you feel gorgeous?