Being female and the face of your business can lead to unwanted attention – don’t suffer in silence

Unseen Beauty isn’t my main job. It’s my hobby. The place where I can write about things that have nothing to do with my job. Things that I care about or want to share. To be honest, I haven’t had much trouble here. There’s been the odd bit of spam by way of private messages, but so far nothing crazy or inappropriate.

I work as an online English language training provider for adults. I want members of the public to contact me, because that’s how I find new customers. I’ve been doing this since 2012 and during that time, I’ve met a lot of kind, hardworking, and interesting people who want to learn English.

And then there are the others. There are actually all kinds of annoying messages that you get, but today I’m going to focus on the inappropriate ones from people who think that just because I’m a woman working for herself, it’s ok to send me explicit, suggestive, disgusting, creepy or unwanted messages.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but I’ve had a couple recently, which made me want to write about it.

I’m not going to copy the text here. Partly because they were explicit to varying degrees – some openly so, others being really careful not to use words that may cause the message to get flagged, or caught by a filter. They don’t deserve space here, but I want to write about it to
1. Highlight the problem and
2. say to anyone in a similar situation that you don’t have to just put up with it.

So what should you do?

Block and report where you can

It’s harder to do this if someone contacts you directly, although you can set up rules to send emails from a specific sender straight to the bin, or permanently delete them. If it really becomes a problem and you need to collect evidence, this is not the way to go, because if you want to prove a crime such as cyberstalking has taken place, you need evidence, but it is a way to make sure you don’t have to see them. This can be particularly useful if you get repeated attention from one person, but I find the problem is more that it comes from different accounts, which limits the usefulness of such rules.

Still, if someone contacts you through a social media or other site, make use of the functions to block the user or report unwanted messages. Getting the account suspended is often more effective than trying to enter into a dialogue with the person yourself. Blocking means that they may go to the trouble of creating a new account, but at least you won’t have to deal with them. Blocking and reporting is even better for sites that offer both.

Usually it’s best not to engage

Sometimes people are just looking for a reaction, and even a bad reaction is still attention from you. You may feel better for telling them exactly what you think of them, but some people enjoy that because they are getting your attention. I will never agree to work with someone who has made me feel uncomfortable – whether it was a blatant suggestion of something that had nothing to do with language lessons, or a creepy guy saying he wants to learn. It’s not going to happen. So I don’t give them any of my time.

We seem to have this belief that just because someone has tried to contact us, they deserve a reply. This may be the policy in larger companies, but if you’re running your own business, you make the rules. I don’t reply to spam, and unwanted or inappropriate attention is a particularly annoying type of spam as far as I’m concerned. I have a low stupid behaviour threshold and it saves me a lot of trouble down the line.

Often our natural reaction is to respond if something isn’t ok for us, but you’re unlikely to change their mind. If you want to respond, then keep it really professional with no emotions. I’m not convinced that this will help, but if it feels as though ignoring the message is condoning the behaviour – keep it detached and objective. .

Try not to take it personally

If someone makes a comment about your looks or something personal to you, don’t feel it’s a reflection on all the hard work you put into being good at whatever it is that you do. You deserve more than to be objectified just because you’re a woman. Men like that would have the same reaction to any woman in your situation, so try not to see it as a reflection on you or your business. I want to be judged on the level of service I provide, not the size of parts of my female anatomy. But there are people out there who won’t ever show us that degree of respect. That’s a thing. Unfortunately.

I know that this applies to men too, but I’m focussing on my own experiences here.

Talking can help

Everyone will be bothered by different things and everyone has different boundaries in terms of what’s going to offend or upset them. If I got together a list of all the things people have said to me over the years, the ones I found most offensive were actually not the most graphic. It would be different for other people because we’re all shaped by our life experiences or what we’ve been exposed to in other jobs. I saw a lot of people at their worst in a previous job, and I thought nothing much would shock me, but there is a more personal element to it when it’s specifically directed at you.

So as above, you can complain if there’s a way to flag the inappropriate messages, or you can at least find someone to talk to. It could be a partner, a friend, or someone in a similar situation. You may find it helps to say what happened and how it made you feel, before getting on with the rest of your day. In a company, you have colleagues, but when you’re working on your own, you don’t. Don’t let that make you feel isolated – there is always someone who could listen and help you.

To be honest, there are a lot of occasions when I haven’t told anyone – I just thought it was irritating and got on with my day. But there are occasions when talking about the things that happen to us is useful – whether it’s something like this or a work-related situation that would benefit from a second opinion.

Someone raised the issue of unwanted attention in a group for teachers and the thread went on for quite a while. To be fair, I think some of the guys had had had unwanted advances too, but it was generally the women who were adding their comments and experiences, and there were quite a few of us. It felt good – it didn’t fix the problem, but it was good to know we weren’t alone.

Legal action

Of course there are situations in which you need to take things further. I’m not an expert on legal action, but I’ll include some links from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Cyber Bullying UK because I don’t feel qualified to give advice on that.

So will things improve?

This isn’t just a problem for those of us who work online. I’ve seen inappropriate behaviour at work in larger organisations to, and not just from members of the public.

In some small part of society, there’s the belief that those of us who are female and work on our own are fair game when it comes to unwanted attention. Yes, I use a camera, but it’s for video conferences with learners. And only that.

I’m talking about the online industry because that’s where I am right now. I’ve never worked for example in the hospitality industry, but I’m sure there are similar problems there too. We’ve seen people coming forward publicly from the sports and entertainment industries – I actually think it’s everywhere. This is why it needs to be addressed and talked about. Because it’s not ok!

It’s also not the majority. I tell my partner and male friends about the stuff I have to deal with, and they’re shocked and appalled that some men behave like that. My male customers are genuinely decent guys who respect me as a woman and a service provider. But there is that other element in society that thinks it’s acceptable to treat women as objects, and they need to be exposed. I don’t actually think you’ll ever stop it completely,. Most of the people who send obscene messages to women who are just trying to get on with their jobs are probably sitting alone in their rooms, knowing that what they are doing is wrong, and doing it anyway. Half of them say things like “I hope you’re not offended by my proposal”, which suggests they know I might, or probably will be.

I try to be detached and professional, but every now and then I’ll read something and think WTF? It’s normal to have feelings of anger, disgust, or however you feel – sad, uncomfortable, triggered because it reminds you of something else. You shouldn’t have to be subjected to it, but your reactions are not wrong and you should never be afraid to ask for help dealing with them. Sometimes you won’t feel anything – and of course that’s fine too. I’m just making the point that it’s ok to ask for help if you need to.

Do you run your own business online? Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you have tips to add for dealing with this problem?

If you’re just thinking about starting an online business, I want to keep things in proportion. It doesn’t happen every day or even every week. I’m talking about it now because I’ve had a couple of incidents in the last week, but then I could go a couple of months before anything else happens. But we don’t gain anything by pretending that this isn’t an issue. Talking about it and our strategies for coping can be empowering, and it also prepares you so that it’s not such a shock if it does happen to you. If nothing else, it shows that you’re not alone.

I’d like to work in a world where this wasn’t a thing. But it is a thing. It will take time to change the world, expose the behaviour, find and punish people who do it. But as a realist, I don’t know that we’ll ever be rid of it completely, so I think it’s just as important to equip people with the strategies they need to take appropriate action and manage any emotions or issues that come up as a result.

Although there is more openness now and the topic is more widely discussed, I don’t actually think that things have improved over the last 6 years since I’ve been in this area of work. We talk about how to deal with angry customers, so I think there’s a place for talking about dealing with sexually inappropriate comments as well.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Bath box – a subscription box for bath lovers

This week I want to tell you about something a bit different in terms of subscription boxes – the Bath Box!

So, if you’re someone who only likes showers and can’t see the point of lounging around in the tub, this isn’t going to be one for you!

I love baths. They’re a place where I can block out the world, take a few minutes – ok often close to an hour – to unwind, stop doing things, stop thinking about things and just be still for a while. I love it.

When we were doing the bathroom for the new house, we decided to get a whirlpool bath because I thought it would be amazing and I knew I would get plenty of use out of it because of the time I spend in the bubbles!

So anyway, I heard about the new subscription box from Bath Box and decided to give it a go. I liked the fact that you can either subscribe or just try out the box once to see if you like it.

The box contains things for the bath, and I think this would make a good present too if you know someone who likes a pamper session in the bath, or if you would like to buy something for someone, but you don’t want to get them a make-up or skincare gift because you aren’t sure about their preferences.

At the time of writing, the box costs £9.99 with £2.99 delivery, and for that you get 5 items, which works out cheaper than similar products if you buy them individually. At the moment, it’s delivered to the UK, Republic of Ireland, and France.

In my box there were two bath bombs (my favourite had to be the banana one!, a bath melt, some green tea bath salts, and a shampoo bar. I haven’t actually used the shampoo bar because it’s going to be part of the Summer giveaway, but I’ve used the others and was happy with the quality and the scents – especially the banana!

The products were well-packaged so the bath treats didn’t bash around against each other.

If you want to get £1 off your first box, you can use my affiliate link, which also means I will receive £1. If you decide to keep up with the subscription and you save 10 of your little tubes from the bath salts, you can send them back, and then you’ll get a free bath bomb.

From an accessibility point of view, I had no problems signing up for a box using my screenreading software and no mouse.

So, have you tried out the Bath Box? Do you think it would be something that you would like? Let me know in the comments.

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

My second book -Achieving results online with adult language learners

I don’t know how many of my language teacher friends and contacts read my personal blog, but I posted something on my business blog today about my second book, which has just come out, so I thought I’d share it here as well.

English with Kirsty

So, my second book is now available to buy, and this time it’s one for people who are thinking about teaching English online.

I never thought about writing on this subject, but after I wrote the first article about working with blind students, more followed, and they seemed to be well-received with shares and comments from other teachers. Sometimes it was other online teachers, sometimes it was people who wanted to set up their own language teaching business. Sometimes it was people who had been working in schools, giving face-to-face lessons for years.

I knew I didn’t want to write a step-by-step, how-to guide, because a lot of the time, we are our brand, and the unique and individual things that people bring to a business are what set it apart and make it unique. However, what I can do is share my experiences, ideas, tips and knowledge, so that…

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They lost my business after 15 years – why website accessibility is important

Why I recently switched from Tesco to Ocado for my grocery shopping.

Sometimes my international customers are surprised that I do my grocery shopping online. It’s not as popular in Germany as it is here.

I’ve been doing all my grocery shopping online for years now – since shortly after I moved to London. So that’s at least 15 years. It made me so happy, because previous trips to the supermarket had been a challenge.

In theory you can ask for assistance if you are blind and can’t locate the products yourself. In practice, you are sometimes given any member of staff who can be spared, and that doesn’t always work out well. I had one really helpful lady, but the next week I got a young guy who thought that you find cheese in the freezer section, and when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, the next week I got someone who couldn’t read. This was appalling – both because I ended up without most of the things that I wanted, but as an employer, the supermarket set that guy up to fail, giving him a task to do that he had no fair chance of completing. He felt bad because he wanted to help, but couldn’t. I felt bad because I couldn’t point out the things that I wanted. It was a disaster.

So, I tried online shopping and it was amazing. At first Tesco had a separate access site for screenreader users, and this was later removed, but the main site was perfectly accessible. I used it for years. Around 15 years. But then things started to go downhill.

I found the site was getting slower, and a recent revamp meant that it became considerably less accessible. I’m not sure how the appearance of the site changed, although in an IT group for access technology users, one member said his sighted wife didn’t like the new site much either.

The thing that a lot of people don’t understand with accessibility is that it’s not how the page looks, but the way it’s been designed, and whether a good user experience for access technology users has been built into the page at the design and coding stage.

For example, using style headings for product names means that a screenreader user can quickly jump from one product to the next by pressing just one button, without having to read all the associated information if they don’t want to buy that product. A screenreader user can’t skim read and scroll, so having a good navigation structure on web pages is essential if you want screenreader users to be able to move around efficiently.

Anyway – the headings for product names were done away with and the information was presented in a list, which was harder to navigate quickly. In addition to the slowness, sometimes the site crashed completely or threw up script errors. I tried different browsers, because sometimes this helps. But no. I just got more and more frustrated. Shopping took longer! My patience was at an end and I began to put off a job that I’d been doing easily for years.

I did pass on my comments, but never heard anything back.

One day was particularly frustrating and I ended up asking S to help me just to get the job done. But something had to change!

Some of our friends had been talking about how happy they were with Ocado, so I decided to give it a go. I signed up for an account and hoped that the experience would be better.

The first task was to import my favourites from Tesco. I believe a 3rd party site is used for this. It wasn’t great, because the buttons for the various supermarkets weren’t labelled properly, but I knew it couldn’t import anything without me logging in to the other site, so I clicked the first one and hoped for the best. It was Tesco! The cynical part of me wonders whether this is where most of Ocado’s customers import their favourites from! Who knows? This shows the importance of labelling your graphics – there are some people who can’t see the graphics and need to know what will happen when you click that button.

Anyway – the favourites will only be imported if there is a comparable product in the Ocado database, so I inevitably lost some. However, it wasn’t difficult to search for things that were missing, and I ended up getting a bit carried away with new things that I wanted to try as well!

It was easy to navigate around the pages, and Ocado does style their product names as headings, so I can quickly move through pages such as my favourites or a page of search results to find what I’m looking for.

Booking my slot and paying for the goods was easy as well, and when the shopping arrived, everything was as it should be.

I was also happy with the receipt. Tesco only provides an email confirmation of the order, but this doesn’t give any information about what actually arrived (for example if something was out of stock). The Ocado receipt tells you what was delivered, and also gives you information about when the products should be used up. This is particularly useful if you can’t see the packaging to check. To be honest I’ve never given myself food poisoning with out-of-date food, and now S is around to check, but in the past I’ve often frozen things to be on the safe side. With this information on the receipt, I don’t need to.

In terms of Unseen Beauty, I have been impressed at the extensive skincare and beauty section, so there will be some new reviews coming soon.

At the moment I am enjoying free access to the smart pass, which gives you free deliveries as long as you hit the £40 minimum spend. I will probably renew this when the free trial runs out because we will save in the long-term on delivery charges.

I couldn’t imagine doing my grocery shopping any other way now – as someone who is blind, there are so many advantages. I can read about the products. I can choose exactly what I want. I can browse for new things when I feel in need of some inspiration. I don’t have to wait for a taxi to get myself and all my shopping home. I don’t have to ask for help in-store. I can do the shopping any time that suits me, even if that’s the middle of the night. If there are cooking instructions for something, they can usually be found on the website.

In addition to all these advantages, it’s still important to have a website that works, that’s efficient, that provides a good user experience, and that doesn’t drive me crazy every time I want to do our weekly shop! Ocado ticks all of these boxes and I wish I had made the switch sooner.

Much is said in marketing about loyal customers, but even someone who has been using a company for 15 years will leave if they feel that the quality of service is not what it once was, or that there is a better deal elsewhere.

In addition to the plus points I have already listed about Ocado, there are other benefits such as the price match. If your shopping is found to be cheaper at Tesco, as mine was last week, you get a voucher for the difference. You can then redeem this voucher when you do your next shop. You also get 5p back for every carrier bag that you return, and there is a good range of products for people with dietary requirements, such as gluten or dairy free diets. When you’re checking out, you have the option of healthier choices for things that are in your basket. Ok you may want an unhealthy treat, but if you’re looking for a healthier diet, it’s nice to have the suggestions.

If you would like me to send you an invitation to Ocado, just fill out your details using the form below. You will receive a £20 voucher for your first shop, and a free smart pass, which gives you free deliveries for one year (minimum spend applies).

If you request an invitation, your email address will be entered on the Ocado site to generate an invitation. It will not be stored by English with Kirsty. If you request the news updates, your email address will be added to my mailing list so that you can receiveUnseen Beauty news, usually twice a week.
I will receive a reward if anyone signs up through me, but I only promote things that I believe are good value and am using myself.

A load of rubbish from May – 18 empty products and what I thought of them

Well, the products weren’t rubbish – there weren’t any that I really hated this month, but I was left with a lot of empty containers to talk about! Let’s get into it, and don’t forget to let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them!

1. Jasmin hand cream

I only had a mini of this lovely handcream from L’Occitane as it was one of my Latest in Beauty products, but it smells amazing, absorbs quickly, and I would definitely get it again.

2. Autograph primer

This primer from Autograph was a bit unusual to use at first – it’s a thinner consistency to the ones I usually use, and at first I wondered if it would actually do any good. However, it did provide a good base for my foundation, and I think this would be a good one for the summer because it’s not as heavy as some of the other primers in my collection. It’s not something I would usually have bought, but the M&S Advent calendar introduced me to it.

3. TIGI® Bed Head Fully Loaded™ Massive Volume Shampoo And Conditioner Duo

This was actually a free gift that I got in a Feelunique order – don’t forget that you can get £10 off your first Feelunique order if you use my link – details at the bottom of the page. Anyway, I got a sachet with this shampoo and conditioner because I had bought a hair mask from the same brand. It’s supposed to give your hair lift and body, which it did, but I was more distracted by the scent which was like black currant. Fruity hair products are my favourites! If you’re interested in the shampoo, this is where you can find it.

4. Vetiver and grapefruit shower gel

Another free gift – this one came with my Molten Brown haircare order. It was a sample of the new grapefruit and vetiver shower gel. As you may remember from my products for grapefruit lovers post, I love all things grapefruit. This is definitely the traditional grapefruit, so not the sweeter pink grapefruit scent, but I found the vetiver a bit strong, and would have preferred the grapefruit on its own.

5. coconut body butter

I’m not sure how I came to have this coconut body butter from the Body Shop because to be honest, the coconut range is a bit intense for me as someone who doesn’t love coconut. However, this body butter is one of the lighter body butters, so not the solid ones, and I didn’t find the scent was too much. So if you love your coconut more than the fruity things, it’s a good product and keeps your skin feeling soft and moisturised.

6. Elemis superfood wash

This face wash sample from Elemis came in a beauty box. It does smell quite strongly of plants, and it’s packed with natural ingredients such as avocado, broccoli, and pumpkin seed oils, to make your skin feel healthy and look radiant.

7. Cosmeticism Anti-Aging Serum

This is not something I would buy again. I was testing out some serums and noticed this one on offer at the supermarket, which is rarely a good idea. Anyway – I finally finished up the Cosmeticism serum, but I wouldn’t get it again as I think there are much nicer serums on the market, and this one smelled a bit floral, leaving my face a bit sticky. I’m not saying you always have to get the most high-end serums, but I think there are budget-friendly ones that are nicer than this one.

8. Cetterfil cleanser

I hadn’t tried anything from this brand before, so I picked up a Cetterfil set when it came up on Latest in Beauty. The set itself was generous with 3 mini products counting as one item, and this cleanser was one of them. To be honest, I still prefer my vitamin E one from the Body Shop, but if you want a completely scentless one, the Cetterfil one might be better for you.

9. Satsuma shower gel

Yes, this satsuma shower gel is enormous, and if you manage to pick it up from the Body Shop when they are on offer, you can get really good value as well because it lasts ages. Ideal if you love the satsuma range, or you are sharing between a family and want something that’s going to last. I keep swapping between shower gels and am not loyal to one, but this is one of the ones I keep going back to.

10. Madara eye cream

This eye cream came in one of my Lovelula boxes, which specialise in cruelty-free and natural beauty products. I’m not getting the box at the moment, but I always looked forward to getting products from Madara, and this eye cream is no exception. I found that Madara products are nourishing, good quality, and even better that they’re from a natural range.

11. sweet mandarin and grapefruit body wash

I actually got this as part of a Baylis and Harding set, but here is the link to the body wash on its own. We’ve bought both the hand wash and the body wash in this scent – and of course it’s got grapefruit in it, so I’m going to be a fan!

12. spackle primer

I know some people rave about this spackle primer from Laura Geller but it just didn’t work for me. It hated some of my skincare products, even when I left it a while, and it just felt sticky and not like a good base onto which I could put the rest of my make-up. I don’t know what type of skin it suits best, but it didn’t seem to like mine. I don’t think it’s a bad product as such, but not one for me.

13. peppermint and geranium shower gel

I got this peppermint and geranium shower gel in a beauty box. In terms of doing what shower gels do, it was fine, but I don’t want to smell like a peppermint or a geranium plant, so it lost points with me on account of the scent. It’s a shame because I do like the Greenfrog products, just not some of the scents that they do.

14. Body shop toner

An old favourite – the Body Shop toner is back in the empties! I do have other toners such as exfoliating ones, but if you want a good, gentle toner, you can’t go wrong with this one.

15. Fuji green tea shower gel

I just had a mini of this because I wanted to try something from the Fuji green tea range. I prefer the fruity things, but as a shower gel it’s fine, and I think people who like things that are a bit more subtle would enjoy this more than some of the other lines.

16. Kiehl’s face wash

This face wash was sent to my Mum with an order and she passed it on to me for blog testing! I only really use products like this in the shower. I think out of the products I’ve tried, the toner is still my favourite, but this is a gentle facial wash and my face didn’t feel dried out as it has on occasions with more harsh facial washes.

17. Body Shop gentle eye make-up remover

I’ve been through several of these now. I have tried others, but I keep coming back to this make-up remover from the Body Shop because it is kind to eyes and doesn’t make me cry!

18. micellar water

This is the Caudalie micellar water that I got in the April Latest in Beauty box. At the time of writing, it’s out of stock, but I’ll link to it anyway. It’s not the cheapest micellar water around, but I think it’s kinder to the skin than some of the really cheap ones, so I don’t mind investing a bit more in something that will shift the make-up whilst at the same time being a bit kinder to the skin.

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The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

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This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.

Blogger of the month – Kathleen

It’s time for the next in my Blogger of the Month series, and today I’m talking to Kathleen, whose blog I discovered a few months ago. I like Kathleen’s blog because it covers a wide range of topics from beauty to books to travel, and sometimes she does bilingual posts, which gives me the chance to see how many Dutch words I can recognise and whether it’s enough to understand the sentence! I also enjoy Here’s what Kathleen had to say:

1. What’s the link for your blog and how would you describe it in a couple of sentences?

It’s The good, the fab, and the lovely. I have been blogging for about 3 years. I blog a bit about everything I guess: beauty, fashion, travel, books and lately I have also done some posts about food. Whatever interests me I blog about .

2. Have you always enjoyed writing, or did you only start recently?

I have always enjoyed language, but I started writing blog posts about 3 years ago. Even though I am from Belgium (the Dutch-speaking part), I decided to blog in English as I thought that would attract more followers and readers.. I know I write mistakes, but overall I think I manage! Anyway, I’ve been learning heaps writing in English.

3. What’s one of your favourite posts from your blog, and why?

I’ve been writing these ‘nostalgia’ posts recently like this one: Going back to the 90s and I certainly enjoy writing them as it is always a trip down memory lane 😊 I talk about my favourite events, music, books, games,… of a certain decade.
Another favourite post of mine is a post I wrote some time ago about organ donation, a subject which lies very close to my heart as my husband is a transplant patient. In this post I write about the struggles we’ve endured during his disease and what organ donation meant to us. Whenever I can, I try to convince people to put themselves up as an organ donor as it saves so many lives…

4. How do you make sure that you don’t run out of ideas? Where do you get most of your inspiration?

I’ve got a notebook in which I write down all my ideas. I get my ideas from everywhere: magazines, other blogs, television,…Whenever I think something is worth writing about, I put it down in my notebook and when I need inspiration, I browse in it. So far I haven’t suffered from writer’s block… yet!

5. What would you say is the best thing about blogging?

Oh I love everything about blogging! If I could I would make it my fulltime job! I like the writing, taking pictures, the interacting with readers and other bloggers,… I’ve been blogging for 3 years and haven’t regretted it a single minute!

6. What’s one of your most popular posts? Why do you think people liked it so much?

My most popular post is one about a beauty product from L’Oréal, the Revitalift laser peeling lotion. I honestly wouldn’t know why this keeps attracting readers, but it sure is good for my stats!

7. If you were asked to put together a beauty and lifestyle box with 4 products inside, which favourite items would you put in?

So difficult to choose only 4 products!!! For now I’d go for these 4:
– Chanel n°5 as that is one of my all-time favourite perfumes.
– Coconut oil:you can use it as a cleanser, as a bodylotion, to nourish your hair, with some sugar in it you can use it as a scrub,… i just love the versatility of this product!
– Estée LauderAdvanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Powerfoil Mask: this sheet mask is too good to be true… such a shame about the price 😞
– Urban Decay Naked 2 eyeshadow palette… it really lives up to its expectations!! I love the shades, it has great pigmentation and there are just so many possibilities with this palette.

8. What’s one thing you wouldn’t have done or learned if you hadn’t started a blog?

As I already said, my English has improved a lot since blogging. When I write a post I will also look up information about the brand, the destination,… so those are things I would otherwise not know. Blogging definitely broadens my mind!

9. Have you ever bought anything because a blogger was talking about it?

Frequently! The Urban Decay Naked 2 eyeshadow palette for instance, a highlighter from Maybelline, a mascara from Rimmel, and many other things!

10. What type of posts do you most enjoy writing? What type of posts do you find hard to write?

I love writing my ‘nostalgia’ posts. As I already said, they’re always a trip down memory lane! The travel posts are usually a bit harder to write as it takes me a bit more research.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

I’m in a book club so I read my ‘compulsory’ books. So far this year, I didn’t like them all, but I don’t mind as reading broadens your mind anyway 
I did read a fabulous book lately ‘The last days of Rabbit Hayes’ from Anna McPartlin. It’ about a woman who is diagnosed with cancer. She’s brought to a palliative unit and during her last days, she and her family look back on her life. This might sound a bit soppy and heartbreaking, but I really liked reading this book… and yes… I cried my eyes out at the end…
Another book I really liked reading was ‘Afterwards’ by Rosamund Lupton. It starts with a fire in a school. One mother sees the smoke and runs inside as she knows her daughter is inside. Both survive, but are heavily hurt. Afterwards, the mother must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her family from the person who’s still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

12. Online shopping or going to the shops – which do you prefer and why?

Both 
When I want something specific and I know it will be hell to find it in a regular shop, I will look online first! The shoes for my sister’s wedding for example. On the online shop I set as many filters as I could (colour, height of heels, price, size, style,…) which left me with plenty of choice. I ordered 5 pairs and kept 1 
We do buy a lot of stuff online (books, shoes, clothes, even our fridge and dishwasher!), but I must say that I like an ordinary shopping spree as well!!!

13. What’s a trend that you think should never be seen again?

Braided brows… I mean… come on!!!

14. If you were in a hurry and only had time to apply 3 make-up products, what would they be?

I would go for a mattifying foundation, mascara and lipstick (which I would use as blush as well!).

15. What do you need for the perfect night in?

I looooove a night in!! I’d start with some tapas or some French cheese and wine. Afterwards I’d settle on the couch with a good book, magazine or travel guide, Netflix and some more wine! I also like a board game (ticket to ride!).

16. What’s one thing that you would like to do this year?

Actually, I would like to have certainty about my job… at the moment there are major changes going on in our organization and even though I know I won’t be out of a job, I just want clarity on when/where but especially what!!

Thanks again to Kathleen for answering my questions and I hope you get some good news about your job soon.

To everyone else, be sure to check out Kathleen’s blog – you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.

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May favourites – haircare, keeping fit, and fruity chocolates

So it’s time to talk about the things I’ve been enjoying this month. Let me know if you’ve tried any of them, and also what you’ve been enjoying lately.

Haircare

I’ll start with my haircare treat. A couple of weeks ago I got a couple of Molton Brown hair minis in a beauty box and I really liked the quality and the way my hair was so soft and shiny afterwards. I wasn’t too fussed about the floral scent, so I had a look on the website to see what else they had. I picked up this Glossing hair care set with plum-kadu, which is more expensive than the hair products I usually buy, but when I think of what I spend on my make-up or skincare, I decided to give it a go.

To be honest, I am getting through these products more slowly than the others – partly because I don’t want to waste it, but a little of these does go a long way and it doesn’t feel that the product has been watered down at all. I can’t justify using this all the time, but if I want to give my hair a treat, it’s definitely something I would pick up again, and I think it would make a lovely gift for someone (it comes in a presentation box).

Make-up

In my April favourites I mentioned the Clinique blush stick that I’d picked up and someone mentioned that there are sticks for eyes as well. I didn’t know about this, so I decided to try one out. The Clinique chubby sticks for eyes are like crayons and you colour in your eyelid with them. They’re a bit like the ones from the Body Shop. Some eye crayons are more like pencils and they are a pain because they don’t glide on well and you have to keep sharpening them. However these ones are like a crayon, they don’t scratch, and you can get decent coverage with them quickly and easily. As someone who can’t see what I’m doing, these are really easy to use and I get good results every time (apart from the first time when I was a bit sparing with it and it didn’t show up very well – lesson learned!)

I also got a Laura Mercier lipstick, mainly because I’d read that they were really moisturising and kind to lips. I like it and am glad to have a new brand in my collection. However, although it goes on smoothly and is quite creamy, I think it’s not as moisturising as some of my satin lipsticks.

Owls, wolves and dogs

When I was trying out the TILI box from QVC, I also picked up a cute little owl necklace. I wasn’t impressed with the ordering process, which is why I haven’t done a post on it. There was an issue with the website which meant that my order couldn’t be submitted and I had to call them to put it through. Kind of annoying, but the owl is sweet and I’ve been wearing him a lot this month.

Bath and shower

I mentioned my bubble bar discovery earlier in the month when I was talking about my lovely gift of Lush products On our week off, I ended up going to the Lush Store to see what other bars they had, and came out with a
Sunny side Bubble bar
that contains orange lemon and tangerine. I think I still prefer the Bright Side to be honest, but this is a bit more of a delicate scent for anyone who doesn’t want to be blasted by oranges! Again, it was a generous amount of bubbles, even with just half a bar.

Lifestyle !

So this is the random category for things that I can’t put anywhere else.

We’ve been Amazon Prime members for a while and mainly use it for the free deliveries, next-day deliveries, selection of free magazines that you can read on the Kindle app, Amazon music app, and occasional things we want to watch on Amazon video. However, I also discovered that there are free books! Every month, the editors select pre-release books from different genres, and you can select one for free. I haven’t actually finished my first one yet, but I like the way that they choose books from a range of genres so that you’re likely to find one or two books that you wouldn’t mind giving a go! The service is called Amazon first reads, and if you’re interested in becoming a Prime member, (the first month is free), you can find out more about Prime here.

The lovely hot weather meant that we went to our first barbecue of the year in May as well and enjoyed some good company, good food (yay chicken with mango marinade and haloumi!), and there’s also something really good about eating outside.

I’ve been doing regular sessions on the running machine and bike, but as Blind Alive had a sale, I got two of their fitness workouts – one for use with weights, and the boot camp, which is the hardest in the cardio series. The good thing about these workouts is that they are made with blind people in mind, which means that all the moves are described in a way that’s easy to follow if you can’t watch a video of someone demonstrating the exercises. It’s so frustrating when you can’t just find something on Youtube and follow along because you have no idea what’s going on. In fact, if you don’t do things properly, you can end up doing more harm than good, which is why I appreciate the fact that someone has taken the time to put together these workouts and describe what you need to do. You can find a full list of the fitness workouts here. Also, if you want to listen to Mel from Blind Alive’s interview with me, you can find it here.

Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about it just after the work-outs, but Hotel Chocolat has brought out a cheesecake selection chocolate box. There’s coffee, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, passion fruit – so many good things and no sea salt in sight – which is how all selection boxes should be as far as I’m concerned! I particularly like this selection because there are a lot of fruity chocolates in it – and of course there’s coffee chocolate too! You can find out more about the cheesecake collection here.

Fragrance

I wouldn’t say this has pushed any of my firm favourites out of place, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got a perfume in the Pink Parcel box in April. It’s a risk to put a fragrance in anything, but I liked the Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Purse Spray because it’s a real summery scent and of course it has one of my favourite ingredients – grapefruit!

So, what have you been enjoying this month? Let me know in the comments!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually twice a week, you can sign up using this form.

The emails contain news of my new posts, other things that I’ve enjoyed (podcasts, posts from other bloggers, interesting articles etc), and any UK shopping information that I think my readers might like.

This post contains some affiliate links, but I only promote things that I’ve tried and tested.