Autumn giveaway winner

I’ve done the draw for the autumn giveaway and you can find out who won here:

Siri is still a bit quiet, but I boosted her as much as I could. I couldn’t rerecord it because then she would have chosen another number, and that wouldn’t have been fair.

To anyone who didn’t win, as long as you said that I could, I will transfer your entries into the next giveaway, which will be happening around Christmas time.

Again I was interested to see what products people were interested in. Some people chose the L’Occitane products or the wipe-out cloth, but the clear favourite was the shampoo bar, and I’ll bear that in mind for the future.

For me, these giveaways aren’t about attracting loads of new followers, who then disappear as soon as the giveaway is over. It’s more about giving something back to my readers, which is why I do the thing with transferring entries.

Some people already have 2 or more entries in the next giveaway, so it’s good to keep entering because that increases your chances. The person who won today had more than one entry.

Have a great week everyone!

More from Unseen Beauty

If you’d like to get my catch-up emails, usually once 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.

Autumn Unseen Beauty giveaway

This giveaway has now closed. If you want to be the first to find out about future giveaways, you can either follow the blog on WordPress, or sign up for my weekly update emails.
It’s time for my Autumn giveaway on Unseen Beauty. It’s open internationally, and all you need to do to enter is fill in the form at the bottom of this post.

I know some bloggers wait till they have a huge box of stuff before doing a give-away, but I’d rather do smaller ones and run them more often so that more people have a chance of winning something. I like to show that I appreciate it when people regularly interact with my blog, so if you don’t win this time, you have the chance of carrying your entry forward to the next giveaway.

The winner of my Autumn giveaway will receive:

  • A L’Occitane verbena body lotion mini
  • L’Occitane verbena icy lip balm
  • L’Occitane Verbena soap
  • Trifle cosmetics – praline eye shadow palette
  • A shampoo bar
  • A mini mask from Mudmasky
  • A wipe-out make-up remover cloth
  • A shell make-up brush
  • The Beauty Crop Wing Woman liquid eye liner
  • Palmer’s cocoa oil lip balm
  • Your answers to the questions will help me to get to know what my readers like and where they are. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use CAPTCHAs on my site.

    The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

    It’s one entry per person using the form, but if you’ve entered giveaways before and asked for the entry to be carried forward, I will make sure your additional entries are counted.

    Terms and conditions

    1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on Sunday 8th October 2018 and I’ll draw the winner on Monday 9th October.
    2. I will give each person a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I don’t like Rafflecopter and want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for people to enter.
    3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or asked for your entry to be carried over to the next give-away. Otherwise it will not be retained.
    4. I will email the winner on 9th October to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.

    5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

This week has been a challenge -what I have learned after an accident at home

So – my week was going well – until Tuesday evening at around half past 11 at night.

I’d never really thought about legs before – how they work, and how they support you when walking around, going up or down steps, and how staying balanced isn’t really something I ever worry about – unless I’m out and it’s icy.

I have a visual impairment, and I’m used to finding different ways of doing things for which other people use their sight, but that doesn’t stop me expecting that other parts of my body just work as they are supposed to.

That is until I slipped over on the rug. I may have been rushing. There was nothing to trip over – I just wasn’t paying attention. My mind was somewhere else. It all happened really quickly and I found myself lying on my back on the floor with one leg twisted at an angle I didn’t know it could go, and incredible pain in my knee. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t put any weight on the leg because the knee hurt so much. That’s kind of annoying when you want to go to bed, which is on the next flor up. Even more annoying when you do something stupid like that on the day that your partner goes away on a business trip!

The only good thing was that my head landed in the doorway and didn’t collide with the door frame or the wall.

But seriously! I never have accidents!

So, I dragged myself up the stairs like some kind of mechanical spider, but less graceful. Our stairs have lots of corners!

I found it easier to sit down and go up backwards, using my one good leg and my two hands. Getting undressed was a challenge. Looking for pain killers was a challenge because I couldn’t rely on the leg not to give way again and had to hold on to the radiator, the cupboard and the chair.

By the time I was ready to sleep, I decided I needed to go downstairs again for something, so the whole thing had to be repeated twice.

The next morning, I thought everything would be better, so I tried going down the stairs standing up, which was a mistake because the leg gave out halfway down. I could just about manage to go up stairs if I took my time, but for some reason, down was harder.

There was nothing to stop me working – I just sit at a desk all day for the main part – but it made me think about all the other things that I never even consider.

If I want something, I just get up and get it.

Now, until I can rely on the leg more, I can’t carry hot drinks. So I have to put the cup on my desk and carefully bring the kettle over, because it’s easier to carry that than the hot drink. Or drag a chair over to the drink-making area in the kitchen and drink coffee there. This was until I had the idea of using our old office chair, which was conveniently in the kitchen, for shifting hot drinks and food around as I sit on it. Result – dinner at the table like a civilised person!

I had to prepare food sitting down so I didn’t fall over. I can’t just leave things in random places, because going to fetch them would be a mission. I was 3 minutes late for my meeting on Wednesday morning because I couldn’t just dash up the stairs as I usually do.

I have also learned that:

  1. Office chairs are great for getting around on. Office chairs are also great for using as transport when you need your hands to move hot or heavy things!
  2. If you’re going to prepare food, sitting down at the kitchen counter helps, but then it’s too low and your arms ache! You’re constantly reaching up and across because there’s nowhere for your legs – particularly if you’re not very tall!
  3. There is a limit to how much you can stuff down and carry in your top to keep your hands free. Across-the-shoulder bags are better for this!
  4. Long dresses maybe aren’t the best for when you’re sliding up an down the stairs sitting down!
  5. Everything takes longer!
  6. The hardest rooms to negotiate are those with a big space in the middle and nothing to hold onto so that you don’t fall over.
  7. It’s good to know where basic things are, such as pain killers, so you don’t have to go hunting for them.
  8. If you use other arms and legs to compensate for one that you’ve hurt, they will ache the next day as well!
  9. Today does feel a bit better, but I think this is going to take a while, and the worst thing I can do is overdo it and make it worse again. Patience isn’t my thing, but I’m going to have to ride this one out!

    Some people who have blind children talk about the way that their kids are always having accidents. I never did, and as an adult I’ve been lucky too, especially as I’ve often done things like horse-riding, skiing, tandem cycling or canoeing.

    Now it makes me think of what it must be like for people who have to think about this kind of thing all the time. Not in a pitying way – I’m sure if this were my life, I’d find strategies round the problems and get on with it. I’m also not comparing my problems to theirs, because in a few days I’ll probably be fine. It’s just all the little steps that I’m having to plan and think of now, that I don’t even give a second thought to usually. It makes me appreciate what I have.

    It’s made me stop taking my legs for granted, and the way that they just carry me wherever I want to go, and usually hold me up without collapsing. It made me grateful for the fact that so many things, even the things inside of our bodies, just work – and we only really notice them when something isn’t right.

    I’m sure it’s just a sprain and if I don’t overdo it, it’ll be back to normal soon.

    Till then I’ll be appreciating every cup of coffee that little bit more because of the mission it’s taken me to get it.

    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.

On integrity and balance – can a blog have too many sponsored posts?

I’m in a number of groups on Facebook. Some are for bloggers, and others are for people who are interested in the same kind of things as me such as subscription boxes and beauty or skincare products.

A common complaint that I see is about bloggers and YouTubers, and how they get so many free products, whereas the rest of the population has to save up hard-earned cash. There is definite resentment there sometimes, and it’s definitely against the “influencers” (I hate that word), not against the brands that send out the free stuff – which in itself is interesting.

This is often met with the response that people who say these things don’t realise how much work actually goes into running a blog or Youtube channel and they have no idea about everything that goes on behind the scenes.

There is truth in that – but is it the whole story? I don’t think so, or it wouldn’t find so much resonance with other beauty and skincare lovers.

Do I work with brands?

Unseen Beauty isn’t my job. It’s my hobby. I sometimes make money from it, but I don’t live from it. Most of the things I talk about on here have been bought with my own money. If I get free products or have sponsored content, it’s marked as such.

I don’t work as much with brands as I could.

I get inspiration from other bloggers and Youtubers who work with brands, and if done well, I think it’s definitely a good way for brands to let people know about their products.

The first time I was sent some gorgeous products from a brand that I genuinely liked, I felt so humbled and grateful. But I still wrote an honest review of them. I loved a couple, liked a couple more, and there was one that wasn’t a bad product, but it wasn’t really one that I would buy again. That’s normal.

I was reminded of this again yesterday when I read a review of some facemasks that another blogger had been sent. She liked some, but thought that one didn’t really do much for her. I respect people who do that. And there are plenty who do, both bloggers and Youtubers who won’t say everything was amazing. Because let’s face it, it’s rare that you think everything in one selection is equally amazing. Readers and viewers know that. If content creators don’t keep it real for fear of upsetting a brand or never being picked for another campaign, they will pay in the long-run because people won’t stick around.

Also there’s another side to it. Several of my readers have contacted me to say that they’ve bought things as a result of my recommendations. I know that just because I loved something, it doesn’t mean other people will, but I have a clear conscience about the recommendation, because I mean what I say on here. Some of my blind readers have bought things directly because I said I found them easier to use as someone who’s unable to see. I have a responsibility to my readers to be honest about things like that, as well as my more general opinions.

So, yes, I do work with brands, although not as many as some other bloggers. Working with brands is exciting. It feels good. It’s fun. But it also comes with a responsibility to stay true to yourself.

I could spend more time identifying opportunities, and I also turn some down because they have nothing to do with my site, or are things that I would never use.

In a previous job I ran the staff magazine and whilst some people had great idea, there were other stories that we just couldn’t run. The magazine had a set of aims and things that it could cover, and some things just fell outside of that and we had to say “no”. It’s the same with my blog. If something doesn’t feel right, or if I’d have to lie and either make out I’d use something when I really wouldn’t, or else say I loved a certain type of product when I really don’t – I won’t do it.

I don’t think that collaborations, free products or promoting specific brands are a bad thing either, but I do think that some people make a better job of it than others.

Getting it right

I do watch YouTubers who get sent a lot of stuff from brands, but I think the people who come across in the best way are those that make it about sharing information, rather than saying “look at me and how lucky I am!” That’s such a turn-off. But if you do it in a way that says “hey, here are some new things that are coming out this month”, it adds value and might give the readers or viewers ideas about things they might like to try.

I think the other problem I see, mainly on blogs, is when people go down the road of only posting sponsored content and never mixing it up. Some say they are blogging full-time and need to make money, but I’d say there’s a difference between not being willing to work for brands for free, and not being willing to create content that adds value to your own platform. The latter is called content marketing and should be part of any online presence. Otherwise it’s just like doing advertising – advertising – advertising. It gets boring if you don’t throw some other value-adding content into the mix such as opinion posts, how-to posts, information that will help readers, or even just things you’ve been enjoying recently that you aren’t being paid to promote.

What other value is the blog giving to readers? Why should they keep coming back, rather than visiting all the other beauty or fashion blogs?

It’s a fairly saturated space out there. I don’t mean it’s impossible to get and keep people’s attention, but I do think that content creators have to offer something unique, and two ways they can do that are by mixing up their content with things other than sponsored post, and keeping it real, which means not adoring or recommending every sponsored single item 100%!

It’s easy for me to say because this isn’t my career, but even if it were, keeping your sense of credibility and integrity has to be better than selling yourself out to make a quick few pounds. I mean it both morally, and also in terms of followers, who are like a type of customer, believing in your opinions and choosing to stick around.

Finally, some of the blogs that I enjoy the most don’t have any sponsored content. It doesn’t have to be about that. Blogging was originally a place for people to write, and it still can be – without us all feeling that we have to fit the same mould.

So what do you think?

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me here, and that’s fine, as long as you can be respectful in the comments! But I have a feeling that some people will get what I’m saying!

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.

Winner of the Summer giveaway

This is a quick post to announce the winner of the Unseen Beauty Summer giveaway – find out who won here:

If you didn’t win and you ticked the box for your entry to be transferred, it’ll go into the Autumn giveaway in September, giving you an additional chance to win then.

Our winner said that she would most like to try the face mask, which with around 25% of the votes was the most popular choice. So, for anyone who was interested in that, there’s going to be a similar one in the Autumn box.

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.

Unseen Beauty Summer giveaway

This giveaway has now closed. You can find out who won here.

If you want to find out when the next one will be, you can either follow the blog on WordPress, or sign up for my email alerts about new posts.


It’s time for my Unseen Beauty Summer giveaway! Here’s what’s in the box this time:

  1. Sanctuary spa Green lemon and orange blossom body scrub
  2. MUA 12th night palette with 12 shadows
  3. 2 Wax melts
  4. Affect matte effect loose rice powder
  5. Lavender solid shampoo bar
  6. Magnitone Wipe Out Cleansing Cloth – a dual-sided microfibre cleansing cloth designed to remove impurities, dirt and make-up using just warm water.
  7. Mudmasky facial detox purifying mud mask
  8. Makeup sponge
  9. Mini Vita Liberata Body Blur
  10. Eyeko fat liquid eye liner
  11. Coffee scrub sachet – this isn’t really part of the give-away, but it’s a little sample that I won’t use, so I popped it in too.

Your answers to the questions on the form will help me to get to know what my readers like and where they are. Also, they prove that you’re a real person as I don’t use CAPTCHAs on my site.

The giveaway is international, but if postal restrictions prevent me from sending a product to your country, I will replace it with an alternative.

It’s one entry per person, but if you don’t win and would like your entry to carry over into the autumn giveaway, don’t forget to tick the box to give your permission for that.

So to be in with a chance to win, fill in the details on the form below:

Terms and conditions

  1. The give-away is open until 23:59 on Sunday 15th July 2018 and I’ll draw the winner on Monday 16th July.
  2. I will give each person a number and then draw the winner by asking Siri to generate a random number. I don’t like Rafflecopter and want to make it as easy as possible for people to enter.
  3. Your email address is being collected solely for the purpose of contacting you if you win the prize. You are welcome to sign up to my newsletter at the same time, but this isn’t necessary to take part in the give-away. If you do not win the prize, your email address will only be stored if you have signed up to the newsletter or ticked the box to carry your entry over to the next giveaway. Otherwise it will not be retained.
  4. I will email the winner on 16th July to ask for their address so that I can send the prize. The winner will have 7 days in which to respond. If they haven’t responded after 7 days, I will draw a new winner.

  5. No cash alternatives are available and the winner is responsible for checking product ingredients for any known allergens)

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.

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.