Saturday, 18 June 2016

Why I Deleted Crowdfire

Now I usually steer well clear of writing about anything 'blog related' here. That's because this is a blog predominantly about beauty. I created it for people in general, not just specifically for other bloggers and definitely not for people looking for any kind of advice that isn't in some way related to stuff you put on your face. I'm not particularly tech savvy, I'm not even very good at SEO (in fact I don't pay nearly attention to it when it comes to the blog). That said, I do like to explore various apps that are supposed to help me do this whole thing a little better. Social Media is such a big deal and we already know how important it is (and if done badly how detrimental it can be) for businesses and blogs alike so I didn't really surprise myself when I gave into the temptation to try something that could, in theory, grow my 'following' on social media. I've always felt kind of grossed out by the terms 'following' and 'followers'- it implies there is some kind of leadership involved when in reality I usually feel I go about my bloggy business rather unnoticed - far from being a leader of any sort!
This uneasy feeling I have about the whole following/followers thing is probably why my trial of using a third party to 'grow' and gain more exposure for my site was not an enjoyable experience. I first noticed Crowdfire on Twitter a while back- I started to see automated tweets from fellow bloggers that said things like 'I just found the x amount of people who unfollowed me via @crowdfireapp, seeya!' or 'x amount of tweeps followed me today, welcome!'. As much as automated tweets make me want to scream profanities, the concept intrigued me. I thought this could be a really great way to determine what kind of people like what kind of content, what is a turn off/turn on to which kind of general demographic etc. So, I signed up (for free) and downloaded the app. Now, Crowdfire is legitimate. It's not about buying fake people to pretend to like your stuff or that sort of nonsense, it just pretty much tells you who has followed and unfollowed you across social media platforms you link to it as well as inactive accounts you might be following. I'm sure a lot of people get a lot of use out of it and find it to be a handy little tool, but for me? It was a mistake to even go there.

Crowdfire shows you who has recently followed and unfollowed you across you social media as well as those who do and don't follow you back. I had it linked to both Twitter and Instagram and started off opening up the app every now and then, you know, just for some 'insight'. I'm slightly ashamed to say that what began as curiosity soon became a bit of an obsession, for lack of a better word. As well as notifying me of the obvious - those accounts that stick out like a sore thumb as being complete popularity-chasers had hit 'unfollow' almost as soon as they had followed- this thing told me on more than a few occasions that bloggers and accounts who had been 'following' me and interacting with me for years had dropped me, and it hurt my feelings. It really upset me, which is rather irrational, to say the least.  Equally, I felt hurt when large, influential skincare or beauty Instagram pages would follow me, I'd hit follow back because I've thought 'oooh, I like this brand!' and felt flattered they were interested in me, only to find they too would drop me (one within minutes) as soon as they had a new follower ticked off their list. I have always despised the whole 'follow for follow' culture on social media because I really feel it achieves nothing genuine, but when I signed up to Crowdfire, that was almost what it became about. I found myself becoming a bit bitter too - some accounts I was really, genuinely interest in weren't following me back and I unfollowed quite a few, all because I was butthurt. All that achieved was me missing out on great content and beautiful images because I felt bitter! How sad is that?

I decided pretty early on that my very brief fling with Crowdfire was never going to be a full blown serious relationship so it was best to just call it a day. It was making me feel like my online presence had become too far removed from the kind of person I really am and I didn't want my social accounts to become like one of the many, many disingenuous ones out there. My blog is precious to me and so are my Twitter and Instagram accounts. They are small and their success reflects the effort I put into them, which at times is very little, so why shouldn't my 'numbers' reflect that too? I have gone back to following Instagram and Twitter accounts simply because I enjoy them and I just don't care whether or not they follow me too. It sounds ridiculous but I feel weirdly liberated having deleted the Crowdfire app from my phone. Plus, now I have more storage space available for stuff that really matters.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Leahlani Skincare Bless Beauty Balm

I'll admit that when this little glass pot of pink balm arrived all the way from Kauai I wasn't 100% sure what to do with it. I had been obsessively researching products that contain Blue Tansy when I happened across the Leahlani Skincare Bless Beauty Balm and sort of purchased it 'just because'. As the formula sounded so rich I didn't think I'd use it as a facial moisturiser so figured it would be perfect as an extra special treat for my hands/cuticles and any dry patches that appeared (I bought this when things were still pretty Wintery). However, as the months have passed I've found myself reaching for it as both an occasional cleanser and a facial oil/moisturiser and have basically fallen pretty hard for it.
Leahlani Skincare Bless Beauty Balm Review

As a cleanser, I use it like any other balm or oil formula, that is, massage it in and then remove with a warm damp muslin cloth or flannel.  As a moisturiser/face oil/facial balm, I use a pea sized amount of the Bless Balm warmed between my finger tips and pressed onto my face. It's particularly gorgeous after toning too because it's so calming and comforting.
As mentioned before, I really thought this was going to be too rich and thick for my face but it actually absorbs beautifully leaving a subtle dewy sheen rather than sitting on the skin like an oil slick. And the scent? Oh my goodness. It's a bit floral, a bit tropical and entirely addictive. Officially, the scent is orange blossom and blue tansy but to me it just smells like unicorns and dreams. 

The ingredients: 
Organic cold pressed argan oil (Argania spinosa), organic cold pressed camellia seed oil (Camellia oleifera), organic Shea butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), organic cocoa butter (Theobroma Cacao), organic cold pressed maracuja passionflower oil (Passiflora Incarnata), organic cold pressed moringa oil (Moringa Oleifera), organic cold pressed marula oil (Sclerocarya Birrea ), cymbidium grandiflorum orchid extract, wildcrafted blue tansy oil (Tanacetum annuum), neroli oil (Aurantium Dulcis), organic rosehip fruit (Rosa Moschata), rose clay and LOVE.

I love that LOVE is listed as the last ingredient! The founder of Leahlani, Leah, comes across as genuine and passionate about her products (of which there are many more) and each and every one is created by Leah herself in micro batches in a small studio in Kauai. Doesn't that just make it seem that little bit more special? What began as a brand on Etsy has now spawned quite a cult following- you just need to search Instagram or Twitter for #leahlaniskincare or #mermaidmaskmonday to see what I mean. It's no surprise that the brand is so popular really - each and every one of the products sound utterly delicious - Kokoleka Ritual Dessert Detox Mask for example. Yes please.

I bought the Bless Beauty Balm from Leahlani Skincare directly and it took about two weeks to get all the way from Kauai to London, which is pretty standard. I also had to pay a ransom of around £18 in customs charges, which was annoying but it's always a gamble ordering products from the states! Edit: Leahlani is now available in the UK from Cult Beauty .The balm is £46 so is not particularly cheap, but to me it's worth every penny.

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