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.

Blog of the Month – Kerry Life and Loves

Welcome to the next instalment of my blogger of the month series. It’s a way for you to get to meet the people behind some of the blogs that I enjoy.

Kerry is a regular commenter here and I’ve been a fan of her blog for a while, particularly her posts about make-up and skincare, and the ones in which she gets us thinking about real-life questions. I’m also happy that she recently started a skincare series as someone who works in the industry. Don’t forget to check out Kerry’s blog and show it some love!

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

Hi, my name is Kerry and I blog over at Kerry Life and Loves My blog was once described as a Lucky Dip blog, as you can find anything over there, and its probably a pretty good description! I class it as a lifestyle and beauty blog, but I have been known to discuss my love of gin, living in a car and dancing in a field!

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

I have always had a love of writing, and its a long running joke in my family that every thing that happens in our lives will end up in “my book” I have a million notebooks full of short stories, poems and chapters of a book I have written. I love writing and the dream is to finish the book I have in mind.

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

Ohhh one of my favourite posts! That’s a hard one as I am ultra critical of all my posts. I tend to enjoy writing the posts that inspire discussion, as I absolutely love the engagement that can happen. My cuppa and a chat series probably holds some of my favourite posts. if I had to choose just one, it would be Your Just Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea. I think I love it because it was the first time I felt like I really connected with my readers and began to get the people who read my blog. It was incredibly satisfying

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

I have only been blogging for 18 months, so haven’t yet run out of ideas! I think because I cover all subjects, I always have plenty to write about. I feel inspired by anything and everything. Anything from a song lyric, a quote I have heard or something that’s come up in discussion with my friends/family. I am a massive over thinker, so tend to want to pull apart and understand everything! I also have a huge love of make up, so often have products to be shared with my readers if I have loved something. I do sometimes have times when I sit down to write, and can’t make it flow. I just go off and have a cuppa, walk away for a little while.

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

I have gained so much from blogging, far more than I ever thought possible. It has honestly kept me sane throughout my husbands cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as being an outlet and focus for me in the dark days of his illness. I have met many, many wonderful people that I consider friends, and I love everything about writing a blog. Sorry, I went a bit gushy and overboard there haha!

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

One of my most popular posts to date was a product review, which really surprised me. It was for a Bobbi Brown eyeshadow stick, and even now, almost a year after it was posted, it gets views every week. I have no idea why! Perhaps the SEO was just right on that post!

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

Ohhh I would love to put together a box! Ok, I would 100% have a scented candle, I can’t personally get enough of them. I’d also have a Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick, an Environ Moisturiser and any one of the Urban decay Naked palettes.

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

Starting a blog has taught me so much, as well as pushed me to come out of my comfort zone. I can be a little lacking in confidence, so making myself go to blogging events has been a huge challenge for me. It’s pushed me, I have had to dig deep at times, but I think it has taught me a lot about myself. I also know a little bit about SEO now, which is a miracle!

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

Ohhh I have bought so much that a blogger has recommended, and in fact, I wrote a whole post on it last year. I am an easy sell. Being a make up junkie, I tend to fall in love with new products that are shown. Fleur de Force convinced me I needed a Chanel eye liner, Sam and Nic from Pixiwoo always convince me I need what ever they use as they are so gorgeous, and any book reviews always make me want to read the book! I’m a nightmare!

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

I really enjoy posts that hopefully, give my readers food for thought. I am a talker, I love to talk late into the night with company, so if I can inspire discussion, encourage people to want to give their input, that makes me happy. I do find it harder to reveal too much of the inner workings of me, the more personal stuff, but I am getting better.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

I am a book worm and devour books! I love reading mystery/crime type books, and self development books the most. I have just finished a book called Then She was Gone and it was brilliant. I read it in 3 days. I also recently read the Jo Malone biography, which I really enjoyed. I like reading about people’s lives.

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

I love going to the shops, we have to support our high streets, but funnily enough, everything I went to buy today in Lakeside shopping centre was out of stock. I’ve had to come home and order it. I do ALWAYS use a blogger’s affiliate link if they have one on something they have suggested and I am buying, we gotta support our fellow bloggers!

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

Ohhh I really would love to see the game playing on social media disappear. The follow/unfollow, the bots, the cliques. I just want it to all be fun and less serious.

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

I could easily only apply 3 make up products, and if you have seen my “morning minger: moments on my Instagram stories, you would see a lot less than 3 products haha! my three would be mascara, lip balm and a bit of bronzer.

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

My perfect night in would be a gin and tonic, fluffy blanket, maybe an Indian takeaway and my hubby and boys home. If its a night in with the girls, still gin and tonic, funny films like Bridesmaids or Identity Theft and lots of talking and laughing.

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

The last 12 months for us have been tough. This year I would just like my hubby to be well, and us to have adventure. catch up on the things that were put on pause for a while. I’m full of hope for this year!

Thanks Kerry for answering my questions and I hope that this year will be a wonderful one for you and your family.

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Blog of the month – the Emma Edit

So, it’s time for the next instalment of my “Blogger of the month” series and today I’m talking to Emma from the Emma Edit. I got to know Emma’s posts through her Blogs in Bloom Facebook group, and she writes on a wide range of topics from food to homeware to travel posts. It was also Emma who gave me the idea for the chocolate subscription! Here are Emma’s answers to my questions:

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

You can find me here.
I started my blog over a year ago now, my, how time flies! I could never decide on a niche for my blog, so I decided to blog about a wide range of topics that are of interest to me. My favourite things to write about include: beauty, blogging tips, fashion, lifestyle, out and about and recipes- phew!

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

I used to enjoy writing a lot when I was a teenager; I remember I used to love writing poetry and short stories. My blog is the only thing I write at the moment, though.

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

Can I pick more than one, please? My favourite posts are titled ‘My Home: One Year On’ and ‘Holiday In Ibiza’ because they are the most personal to me- they are really nice to look back on as they bring back memories.

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

I had an almost blogging break in February because we all run out of inspiration sometimes. If you feel like you need a break, have one- it will benefit you more in the long-run. But apart from that, a friend and other bloggers inspire me to keep going.

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

As a person who’s never really had a hobby before, I’m proud to say my blog is my hobby!

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

My most popular post is the one where I talk about my Facebook group, Blogs In Bloom; this post is most popular because I upload it once a month to reach new followers. I have a haul post which includes homeware, beauty and fashion items- this is my 2nd most viewed post.

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

It’s so difficult just to pick 4 items! 1) a cute leather purse, 2) Benefit Roller Lash Mascara 3) a fancy candle 4) Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser.

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

Honestly, I have already learnt so much along the way with this blogging journey! Even just learning how to use WordPress is an achievement on its own.

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

Good question! I always read blog posts by others and lust over the pictures, and appreciate a good write up. I have a mental wishlist, but I don’t think I have bought anything recommended by a blogger- yet!

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

I love working with brands, but I find those posts most difficult to write because I want everything to be just right. My favourite posts to write are lifestyle and spontaneous posts that you can’t wait to write.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

Reading is definitely a seasonal activity for me that I like to do in the summer- you can’t beat taking a book outside in the sun! I’m a sucker for a girly love story, so I loved reading Me Before You by JoJo Moyes last summer.

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

I like to browse online, but I like to make my purchases in store. It’s just nice to get out of the house, isn’t it?

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

I honestly know nothing about trends, so I can’t answer this question- sorry!

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

For me, it’s got to be: 1) eyebrow pencil, 2) mascara, 3) liquid lipstick

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

I love a night in (every night!). A relaxing bath, a glass of wine, chocolate, music and candles make a night in perfect for me.

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

When the weather warms up, I am going to be on a mission to get out and about and visit lots of new places.

Thanks Emma for answering my questions and I enjoyed getting to know you a bit better through this post.

Don’t forget to check out Emma’s blog, and for those of you who are bloggers, I can definitely recommend her group. It’s one of the most friendly places on the internet when it comes to bloggers getting together, encouraging, and helping each other out.

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If you see this before 9th April 2018, why not also check out my Spring giveaway?

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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 deals or discounts that I think my readers might like.

Blog of the month – Thenellybean

Welcome to the first instalment of my blogger of the month series. It’s a way for you to get to meet the people behind some of the blogs that I enjoy.

We’re starting with Janelle from TheNellyBean – so if you haven’t done so already, I’d recommend that you check her out – after you’ve read her answers of course!

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

I’m over at The Nelly Bean and my blog is all about beauty, life’s funny moments and my experiences as a music teacher. Me in a nutshell!

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

I’ve always loved writing since I was much younger, and always felt like I could express myself better through pen and paper rather than verbally. I’ve learned how to function socially as a human being since then (hopefully) but I still feel the same way about writing.

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

Probably my post called Rambly Ramblings, which was written after I’d been away from blogging for a long time – life gets in the way sometimes. I felt as if I was just emptying my thoughts when writing it and it felt so natural – for me, that’s what blogging is all about.

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

I always keep a little list of drafts to hand, and always brainstorm ideas for blog posts when I have a bit of spare time or when I’m feeling particularly creative. Most of my inspiration comes from observations in real life or thoughts that cross my mind during the day (or night).

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

Being able to have a platform dedicated to the expression of anything and everything you fancy. It’s like having a blank piece of paper – terrifying yet so exciting.

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

My post called 10 Thoughts I Have Whilst Putting Makeup On – I felt like I couldn’t be the only one having these random thoughts whilst doing my face and it turns out lots of other people could relate.

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

I’d go with the NYX Blush in Taupe (absolute saviour for contouring), a big bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, a red tinted Vaseline and a pair of fluffy socks. Those four never let me down.

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

I would definitely never have realised the sheer power of social media, and I would definitely not have learned to navigate WordPress. I’m far from good at it and coding still baffles me, but I’ve come a long way.

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

Yes – the NYX Lip Lingerie in Exotic. Now I’m another blogger who raves about it and I have zero regrets.

10. What’s your most recent post?

It’s called 5 Things I Have Learned In 2018 (So Far). Short and sweet one, I was feeling retrospective.

11. Have you read any good books lately?

I’ve been meaning to read The Picture Of Dorian Gray – maybe when uni work calms down a little.

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

I tend to go online to do my research but I almost always prefer to buy in store. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but there’s nothing quite like being able to try the product for yourself – especially when it comes to jeans and makeup!

13. What’s a trend that you think should stay in 2017 – something you hope will go away this year?

Everything about Logan Paul.

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

Mascara, tinted vaseline, concealer.

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

My laptop, fluffy socks and a massive mug of lemon and ginger tea.

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

I’d love to say yes to more things and take more chances. And be hella proud of myself for it!

Go for it – I hope 2018 will be a year full of new opportunities for you Janelle, and to everyone else, don’t forget to go and check out her blog!

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Would you read your own blog?

Taking a fresh look at your blog from an outsider’s point of view.

If you were a visitor to your blog, would you want to read it?

It sounds like an odd question, but think about it for a moment. Is your blog something that you would like to read if you hadn’t seen all the content before?

Hopefully the answer is “yes!”

The reason I’m asking is because it’s really hard to write things that you don’t find interesting. You might have to do it for a job – I wrote plenty of documents in past jobs that didn’t get me excited – (strategy delivery action plan anyone?) but when it comes to your own blog, people will be able to tell whether you’re passionate and feel excited about the content.

I’m sure there have been articles that you clicked on because of an interesting headline, but then you clicked away after a couple of seconds. Why is that? I’d say there are two groups of reasons.

Mistakes or a bad user experience

The first reasons are that there is something wrong with it. Different things will bug different people. Maybe there are lots of mistakes in the writing and that puts you off. I’m not talking about grammar so much, but if it looks as though someone hasn’t given it a once-over before publishing, and dashed it out, leaving lots of typing errors in, I find it really distracting.

Maybe there is too much clutter to make it an easy reading experience.

Maybe the in-your-face pop-up drove you crazy!

Maybe there was an exciting title, but the content didn’t live up to it. Nobody loves clickbait.

Maybe the article is exactly the same as a bunch of other articles on the topic, and the blogger didn’t do anything unique to make it their own.

The list goes on, but they are generally things that can be fixed, and probably should be fixed so that readers don’t click away.

Personal preferences

Then there are the other, more personal things. These aren’t mistakes, but they’re about personal choice. They’re what makes you stand out from the crowd, and because of this, some people will be drawn to your blog because of them, whereas others will click on by. They aren’t bad things – but it’s good if you can be consistent with them so you give a clear message about what kind of vibe you are going for. How will you do this using your language/layout/images/choice of topics?

I like something to read, so a couple of lines of text with a bunch of photos doesn’t do it for me, whereas other people might fall asleep halfway through some of the articles that I enjoy because there’s too much detail for them.

I can’t stand football, but some of my friends hunt out articles about sport.

I love dogs, but most of the time I don’t want to read about cats (sorry cat lovers – one or two articles won’t make me run for it, but a whole blog on them wouldn’t be my first choice of reading material!.

As someone who is blind, content will always be king over images for me, but I know people who will stop reading if they don’t like the blog design or lack of photos.

If every product is amaaazing and every post feels like an ad or promotion, it somehow doesn’t feel real, and that’s a turn-off for me. I’d much rather someone say why they didn’t like something once in a while or that something just wasn’t their thing.

Whilst everyone can work to improve their writing style and presentation, these are more personal things. You can’t please everyone, and trying to please everyone will just give you a headache and make your blog blend into the noise of the hundreds of other blogs out there because there’s nothing that makes it stand out!

Take a look at your blog through the eyes of a visitor

So, if you want to get a better understanding of what’s important to you as a reader, why not make a list of things that make you really want to read a blog, and things that make you click away after a few seconds and never return? Some of them will be just basic good practice for running a blog, but some of them will be more specific and based on your personal likes and dislikes.

Once you’ve got your list, think of how it applies to your blog.

Do you unintentionally do any of the things that would make you click away as a reader?

Let’s take my ideas. I try not to do any of the generic things that I think are bad practice because if they wind me up, I don’t want to do the same to my readers. So no annoying pop-ups or ads scattered throughout the text. I can’t say I’ll never make a mistake, but I do read through the posts and check them before hitting publish.

It gets a bit less clear-cut when it comes to the personal stuff. I do write the kind of longer posts that I like to read. Partly because I have a lot to say, and partly because I’m looking for like-minded people.

I don’t write about cats or football, partly because they don’t interest me, but also because I would have nothing to say and it would be a bit of a rubbish article!

I try to come up with ideas that other people haven’t covered before, but I could do more to write posts with more of my own feelings or personal experiences in them, otherwise it can sound a bit generic. When you’ve previously worked in a job that encourages you to not put yourself in the centre of your writing, you have to develop new skills for blogging.

I like reading empties and favourites posts, but if I get 10 posts in my reading queue called “January favourites”, I might get a bit bored – so I’ve been experimenting with the titles. Such as November favourites – bloggers, body lotion and bunny ears! or 15 November empties – lots of handcream and a disappointing panda. Just something a bit different.

I like book posts, but never write them. That’s going to change!

People seem to like my disability posts, but I don’t find them the most exciting to write, because writing about my every-day life is kind of old news for me, whereas to the reader they’re often something new. So I combine it with things that I love –blindness + make-up tips or the accessibility of online shopping for someone who can’t use a mouse.

Sometimes it can help to do a year top 10 post to see which ones people are interacting with more. It’s tough if the posts people most enjoy reading aren’t the type that you most enjoy writing – and it’s definitely not good to just write for others without thinking about what you want to talk about. It’s your blog after all! But if you want to take the blog in a certain direction, give some thought to where people who like that type of content or share that interest may be hanging out. It might be that there’s nothing wrong with the content, it’s just not getting in front of the right people!

It’s good to try out new ideas to see whether they work – then you can carry on with them if you enjoy them and readers are engaging, or keep it to a short series if you run out of steam or the idea doesn’t work for some reason.

If you try to look at your blog and think about the things that you don’t enjoy on other blogs, it might help you to identify things you could do to make your own posts better, and improve the experience for long-time or new readers.

You could also think about some words or phrases that describe how you want your blog to be seen or remembered, and then see how some of your trusted readers describe it. Do the two sets of words match up? If not, what can you do about it?

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Happy 1st birthday Unseen Beauty

As you can probably guess from the title, a year ago today I published my first two posts on this blog. The first one was an introduction, because although I already had another blog, the interface is different and I was still trying to figure out how things worked. The second was a product post, which is still one of my favourite type of posts to write!

The idea of blogging wasn’t new to me because I was already writing for my business blog. I’m an English teacher, so I write about language, language learning tips, writing skills and anything else I think my learners and readers would enjoy.

But Unseen Beauty was going to be different. I wanted it to be a place where I can write about all the other things I enjoy that have nothing to do with my job.

I came up with the name in the bath, where I get a lot of my ideas. For anyone who’s new – “beauty” because I feature a lot of beauty and skincare products, and “unseen” because I’m writing about the products and life in general from the perspective of someone who is blind.
Fast forward a year and I’ve written 120 posts – that number was pushed up quite a lot because I did Blogmas! Here are some of the things I’ve enjoyed – in no particular order:

  • Chatting with my readers. I know some of my friends and family read the blog, but I’ve also got comments from people locally and in other parts of the world, which is great!
  • Getting to know other Bloggers –including taking part in regular threads in the Blogs in Bloom Facebook group, doing several collaboration posts, and doing my first ever blogger swap box!
  • Working with brands – there’s something so nice when a brand that you like is interested in your blog or an idea that you’ve pitched.
  • Spreading information – I know some people have tried out new products after I talked about them, and I think that some of the accessibility and disability-related posts have given people new information and helped them to understand some issues better, which makes me happy.
  • Supporting charities I care about – I know that at least two people adopted wolves after my post about Madadh and Kgosi and I’m proud to be a virtual ambassador for them. I’ve also talked about the Dog’s Trust and the Wolf Conservation Trust, and I hope these posts have helped people to find out more about them too.
  • Trying out some new products and foods – all in the name of research of course!

I’ve got plenty of ideas for content this year, but for now, let’s have a blog party to celebrate. Here’s how to take part:

  1. Please tell me in the comments one post that you’ve enjoyed, or one topic that you’d like me to cover this year.
  2. If you have a blog, leave a link to it and tell us a couple of sentences about it. Don’t just leave a link – you’re more likely to get visitors if you let people know what your blog is all about!
  3. Visit some other blogs that you think look interesting. I can’t check who does this, but people who only take and don’t give anything back don’t get far in life!

So, thanks for reading and now I’m looking forward to your comments!

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Blogmas day 5 – Blogmas and Vlogmas content that I’m enjoying

So today I’d like to tell you about some of the other bloggers and Youtubers whose Christmas content I’m enjoying. I subscribe to so many sites and channels that I’ve limited the number here – but if you’re doing Blogmas or Vlogmas, feel free to leave a link in the comments!

Blogmas

The Cozy Den – you may remember S and J from Germany in my Blogger swap box post. Their Christmas posts include Christmas baking, Christmas essentials and Christmas music!

Covet Luxe – here you’ll find gift guides, and posts about make-up, skincare, and Christmas films.

The little wise owl – for posts on baking, Blogmas ideas, and what the little wise owl has been up to in December.

Girl enters – this is a new blog that I found out about because of Blogmas. That’s one of the things that I like about it – you get to discover new blogs!

Hannah Elizabeth – Hannah Elizabeth is doing Blogmas again- find out where she’s been and check out her beauty posts.

Natalie Gordon has posts on getting into the festive spirit, making your own decorations and a cosy night in.

Nataladalie – for recipes, Christmas music and scents.

Sophie Letitia – I’ve been following this blog for a while and enjoy her make-up and skincare posts. So far we can read about stocking fillers, nail varnishes for Christmas and a trip to somewhere that will get you in the mood for Christmas!

My pink rambles – This is Joanna, one of the people who inspired me to set up Unseen Beauty.

Vlogs

If you like the Christmas vlogs on Youtube, here are some Christmassy videos. I’ve linked the videos directly, but if you look around or follow the channel, you’ll see the rest of the Christmas content.

Niomi Smart
Jamie Gourdon
Scarlet London
Wavy Kate – the first person who got me into watching advent calendar unboxings!
Emma’s rectangle
Fashion Mumbler – the first person who got me into watching Vlogmas!
Mercedes Whittyy
Wonderful you
Hello October
Soph does nails

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The calendars

So, if you’re doing an advent calendar this year, what was behind todays door?

L’Occitane – I had another hand cream today, this time a floral one. Usually I don’t get excited about floral things, but this is quite a delicate scent and I like it. Anyway the L’Occitane hand creams are always good!

M&S: Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel. I had to look this up. I knew about dragons from my Nip and Fab products, and it turns out that both brands were created by the same person – although Nip and Fab is cheaper! Therefore I was glad to try something from its sister brand! This is a gel that encourages the production of collagen to help skin appear firmer.

Question for the day

And finally my question of the day – when do you start your Christmas shopping, and have you finished? I haven’t finished yet! Sometimes I start as early as the summer if I find something I know someone will like and they have already had their birthday, but usually I start around November time. I can’t do the crazy rushing around at the end of December because it would stress me out too much!

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