Monday, 14 September 2015

H&M Beauty Haul

H&M is undoubtedly one of my favourite shops. Affordable, stylish, great selection of basics and statement pieces and fabulous accessories to compliment any look so a few months ago when I heard that they were releasing the makeup line, I was instantly excited. Technically they already did some makeup, but it was a small, low key offering which was never really what I went in for.

Last Thursday, the H&M just along the road from my work launched their new beauty department and I have to say, the collection is far more amazing than I ever dreamed. Not only is the product selection fantastic (basics like lipstick, nail polish and eyeshadow to more unusual finds like lip scrubs, a colourless lip liner to suit any shade and individual pods of face masks for travelling) but the huge variety of shades is astounding too. Here's what I picked up...

Firstly, I bought 4 of their high impact eye colour eyeshadows - left to right, we have...
Way Past Midnight- A browny purple
Anthracite - A super glitter dark gunmetal grey
Mojave - A pale warm toned taupe
Sun Worship - A bronzy gold with a slight hint of khaki

All of the colours I picked are shimmers and I tried to go for quite Autumnal shades that I can get a lot of wear out of. I adore the cream and gold packaging but the product inside is what sealed the deal for me. The colours are beautiful and blend together really well and how highly pigmented they are is amazing, especially for drugstore products. The range of eyeshadows is so huge that there's so many more I want ('Cinnamon Roll' and 'Fig Figment' are next on my list) mostly more neutrals but a few amazing glitzy blues and purples too!

I also bought 2 lip products, their lip definer pencil in 'Bramble Ripple' and their Cream Lip Colour in 'Brunetter Ambition'. I've been after a berry lip liner for a while, one that I can wear with reds, purples and berries and this colour is a gorgous in between which could work with a lot of shades. The formula is cream which I really like in a lipliner so it doesn't pull or drag and once on, it doesn't budge at all. 
The lipstick is a stunning nudey-brown. Although I love nude lipsticks, I've never gone quite this brown before but I'm so glad I did, I'm obsessed with it! Like the name of the product suggestions, the formula is so creamy and applied like a dream, but it still very opaque in colour. 
As you can see, both extremely pigmented! Over all, I'm so pleasantly surprised by H&M's amazing new beauty range. Beautifully pigmented products, huge variety of shades and pretty gold and white packaging. There's so many more pieces I want to try but for now, I can't wait to play around with my new bits and create some Autumnal looks!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

My 4th Birthday

Good morning all and a very happy Wednesday to you all!
Today is my birthday! I am 4! I should clarify that I mean my blog birthday, not my actual birthday. Sadly, my actual age exceeds my blog age by two decades! Yep, it was exactly four years ago today that, after much deliberation and doubt, I finally put pen to paper (metaphorically of course) and started my own blog. 

I was in 3rd year of university and I was desperately longing for a way to express my love of fashion without it being graded or having a word count or a deadline date. I want free reign over my love of writing without judgment or approval. While blogging isn't what I expected in most ways (not necessarily I'm a bad way) I think than 4 years later, I have managed to create someone close to what I'd envisioned and I am very proud of my little corner of the web and all I've achieved. 

When I first started blogging, I had no idea. I had no structure to what I was posting, I didn't really care too much about photo quality or blog design and I was certainly blissfully unaware of the entire blogging community. There were a few people I knew ran reasonably small local blogs, but other than that, my extent of bloggers all had hundreds of thousands of followers and I didn't know that it was something 'normal' people (for lack of a better word) did alongside their everyday jobs, hobbies, families, friends and personal lives. Considering how unaware of all this I was, I guess it was ridiculously brave to try my luck at something that, as far as I knew, only consisted of Zoella et al. Why did I think stood a chance?

The first fashion blog I ever followed (and I did so religiously) was a girl called Jessica, from the blog The Vintage Virgin. While she doesn't blog any more, at least not under that name, her posts are still up and her style continues to amaze me. She was who I longed to be. She always looked flawless and always had the most original pieces from thrift stores, vintage boutiques and independent fashion brands. Again, I was aiming extremely high but I had this idea in my head that I was some cool fashion student who people who care what I wore. I wasn't. I was a skint fashion student when occasionally picked up the odd scarf in a charity shop but who mostly shopped in Primark & H&M. I was, and still am, no different from any other 'normal' fashion blogger out there.

My blog started out as a place to share my outfits. Looking back, what I wore, how I photographed outfits and how awful the posts where, I'm surprised anyone gave a damn about my terrible excuse for a blog. It wasn't until I discovered the wonderful world of social media, mostly Twitter, that my blog started to get any followers or recognition. I remember how happy I was when I got my first comment. It still amazes me to this day that with so many, quite literally hundreds of thousands of bloggers out there, that people care what I have to say, enough to comment on it and share it. That's such a fantastic thing that I ever imagined blogging would give me.

Fashion and beauty were the main topics I wanted to write about. I've always love makeup and experimenting with new products but with so many beauty bloggers being professional makeup artists, I was initially put off sharing my love of cosmetics on my blog through fear that people would think I was conceited or shallow. Two of my friends from uni, the ever lovely Sami & Lisa from Beauty Aesthetic were nominated for a blog award and were planning a trip to London for the weekend to attend the cereomy shortly after I started my own blog. They were my first tangible example of 'real' bloggers who wrote a blog alongside their own normal lives. I remember one day at uni Lisa asked if she could take a photo of my nails for something for their blog and it was from there that I thought, if they're interested in my nails and they run a blog successfully enough to be nominated for awards, maybe there is a place for my amateur love of beauty on my blog.

Lifestyle blogging was something I had absolutely no idea about until at least 2 years into my blogging 'career' - again, for lack of a better word. I had a very black and white idea of what blogging was. Either it was based on materialism like makeup and fashion or it was serious stuff like current affairs, politics and social issues. Despite having huge passions for both, I somehow never imagined that the two could ever live happily in the same blog. The first 'lifestyle' bloggers I ever remember reading were two people who I now consider to be a blogging friend of mine, the fabulous Becky from Becky Bedbug and the lovely Sophia from Tattooed Tea Lady. Their blogs struck me as such amazing collection of variety - everything from beauty and fashion to travel and food to books and films. They had so much variety yet still maintained a continued theme throughout and I was amazed. Becky and Sophia's blogs are still an inspiration to me and I know a lot of other bloggers today, but finding their blogs lead me into discovering the whole world of lifestyle blogging and from there, I felt like that identity allowed me the freedom to write what I wanted without backing myself into a corner or a genre.

In the time since I began to break up the fashion and beauty with other topics, I've felt it only like I enjoy blogging more and have a ton more ideas, but that people seem to enjoy and share my blog more too. Since then, I've covered food, travel, culture, art, feminism, politics and mental health and this variety has only helped me to build my blog.

This year has been the most incredible year so far in regards to my blog. While I don't quite have my own ghostwritten book quite yet, I have had some great opportunities to work with amazing brands, meet a ton of fantastic fellow bloggers who I now consider friends and increase my scope as a freelance writer as well as blogging as a hobby. At the start of 2015, I began to take blogging more seriously if you will, I now post on set days and make more of an effort to get involved in chats as opposed to just takin part if I happen to be on Twitter. I've even hosted a chat for the first time too!

I started my blog during a really uncertain and testing period of my life and retrospectively realise just how much it helped me to come through that time stronger. Now, 4 years on, I am once again going through quite a tough time but now I cannot imagine my life or my daily routine without my blog. Having been a lover of writing all my life, blogging gives me complete control to share exactly what I want and channel my thoughts into something productive and proactive. The community that I'm now a part of is so unconditionally supportive and amazingly accepting and without a shadow of a doubt, Filthy Paws & Silky Drawers would've quickly burned out very early on without the community.

Armed with support, confidence in the huge skillset that I'm proud to have taught myself via blogging and an overflowing brain full of ideas, I can't wait to see what the next 4 years has in stock...