It took me a long time before I started actively reaching out to brands and PRs asking if they could add me to their mailing lists/give me free stuff. Part of it was some misguided attempt at keeping my blog “pure”; as if I didn’t usually reply with a great big enthusiastic “yes” when people got in touch with me and as if some of the things I’ve been approached to do didn’t fit in perfectly with my desire to write about things that I enjoy or find interesting and think other people might too. Part of it was because I’ve been doing this for so long that, like, surely I’m already on everybody’s radar?
Let me tell you, pals: you have never experienced FoMO like the FoMO that hits on a drizzly Tuesday night when you’ve had a shitty day at work and burned the dinner and the cat litter needs changing, and you idly check in to Instagram to see if anybody has “liked” that picture of your hair from this morning to see that every. bugger. in. Glasgow. is currently enjoying colour-coordinated cupcakes and cocktails at the launch of some new beauty salon or clothing collection.
You can let it get the better of you, or you can drop the company or the PR a line to say hey, I was sorry to miss out on such and such the other night but let me introduce myself and what I do to you and if you like the look of it, maybe you could drop me a line next time you have something come up? And sometimes you’ll get a reply, and sometimes you won’t; and let’s face it, the reason companies put on blogger events is because they want to get people with loads of followers on social media and whose blogs actually get read to talk about them so they’re hardly going to snub you if you fit that criteria and make it easy for them to find you. Besides, if everybody got invited to everything then Twitter would turn into one huge, hashtagged circle jerk and that’s just as annoying as when everybody starts tweeting about The Great British Bake Off or Jeremy Corbyn’s beard all at the same time.
That said, there are some PR lists that have become something of a Holy Grail to me over the past few months – some that, despite multiple attempts, I’ve never been able to crack. Which rambling introduction is my way of saying that I genuinely spent over £100 of my own hard-earned in Debenhams’ beauty department on Saturday, and I don’t regret a penny of it.
It was a post-payday Saturday like any other: some girl maintenance, coffee with my mum and dropping in on Sarah on the (convoluted) way home. I’d been to Peaches then, Sarah having not texted me back yet, figured I’d pop in to Debenhams to see if there was any space on the Benefit brow bar. There was a walk-up appointment, I was told, but it was 20 minutes off and perhaps I could have a wander around until then? Since I was in the market for a new foundation anyway (funnily enough, because I was going off Benefit’s Big Easy BB cream as it’s quite harsh and has a tendency to sting if you get some in your eyes in the morning) it seemed like a good idea to me and I instinctively wandered towards my other staple makeup brand: the Urban Decay counter.
Ever have those days when everything just feels right? I don’t mean like that scene in Transparent when Maura and the girls stop in for the former’s first ever high-end makeover on the way to lunch, with the primers and the powders and shit. Or maybe I do, because the gentle blurring brush that the makeup artist used to apply my lovely cooling Naked Skin foundation felt fantastic on my skin, much nicer than the flat foundation brush that never quite recovered from going years without having a proper clean (I could not stop laughing the other day when Dorkface posted that she sometimes went three weeks without cleaning her brushes, I thought my intended monthly regime made me saintly?!). Taken together, the two items took me just under the £50 spend I needed for £10 worth of bonus Beauty Club points, so I needed to buy the cheapest item they sold to make up the difference. Which was fine, because I needed a new pencil sharpener anyway.
I was a little late getting back to the Benefit counter for my eyebrow wax, but they were pretty understanding – even more so when I told them I was desperate to try some of the new They’re Real colour eyeliners and mascaras. At this stage, I wasn’t planning to spend much more money – even though I was told that a £50 spend at Benefit including a brow treatment would get me a pretty sweet-looking dressing table mirror for free. “Well, is it okay if I pay you after I see what the eyeliner looks like on? Just in case?” I asked. Of course, that was fine.
Now, they say that the Benefit They’re Real push-up liquid liner is the liquid liner for those that have never figured out how to use it. I can’t say that I agree, but I loved the way that the purple made my blue eyes pop and if you can’t splurge a little on payday, why bother working at all, right? The makeup artist used just a touch of the new blue mascara at the corner of my eyes, but I’ve always suited blue mascara and haven’t bought one since Benefit stopped making Bad Gal in blue. BOUGHT.
I was less impressed with Benefit’s samples – although I’m keen to try the makeup remover when I get around to experimenting with the liner on my own – but you can’t really argue with that mirror, can you?
Oh, and spending another £50 got me another £10 in Beauty Club points. Which means I’ve practically paid for my next foundation… right?
So tell me, pals: what’s the one PR list you’re desperate to crack? And have you tried any of these products?