Sunday, 21 December 2014

2014 Crumpet Readers Poll - Your Disappointments

Hi Goddesses



Although this poll is about celebrating the good, inevitably, there are things in the year that weren't so good.  Products that failed to deliver, bloggers who went missing .... so much happens that it's important to record it ALL.


I'll be doing a separate post of my own disappointments, for the moment, here are yours, with any comments of mine in blue - 



Polish Brands - generic thoughts

Bondi New York (technically the end of 2013)
Catrice's wonky brushes (at first only the LE had them, nowadays most do)

Chick Nail Polish discontinued
we should probably add the end of My 10 Friends Nail Polish to this list too :(
Just about any CbL polishes
Leopard Spot Glitter

mainstream brands aren't that exciting - yup, I agree with you there.  OR there are a couple of great polishes only in a largely mediocre collection

Mainstream brands- OPI and China Glaze really let me down AGAIN
new OPI DS polishes
OPI
Revlon scented range - scented polish is *never* good.  The bottles looked fab tho.



Sinful Colors being discontinued



There are just SO many indies out there now, it's hard to keep track, and so many similar/dupes of a polish colour and it's hard to pick which one will be the best




Using glue as a basecoat for glitter polish - really?  I still love this!

super-small stamping images on some plates - yup, I hear ya!
So many UK indies closing :(



Summer collections in general this year
Quirk (and most other great UK indies) being shut down :( - there will be a separate post about this



Polish Brands - specific thoughts

Barry M Autumn Silks




Bliss Kiss Nail Oil.  I did the 3 day challenge and my nails started peeling like crazy and my cuticles didn't look any better!  WAAAAHHHHHH!!

China Glaze I Choose Choose Choose You, underwhelming :(



Discovering Emily de Molly's "Monet Gardens" but it is ALWAYS sold out in its US suppliers (Australian brand)
EP monthlies


Fandom Cosmetics - my order took 3 months to arrive and one of the polishes was so thick it was unusable, and the brush was ruined too.  Ok, I debated whether to include this, as I have no experience of Fandom Cosmetics, but I decided to keep it in to highlight the importance of customer service in general.  Every brand has hiccups and hopefully this was a one-off.  Surely no brand with a logo this cool can be anything other than good?



FUN Lacquer thermal Do You Be-leaf in Magic

IsaDora - Peel off base (it peels of too good, too soon)

Opi Glitter Off - I actually love this product



OPI Peanuts collection - yellow polish? don't get me started





OPI sheer tints - oh wow yes, I hated these too!



Pueen encore double sided stamping plates. A mess in my book.

Zoya Natural Collection
Zoya textures



Zoyas latest Magical Pixie Dusts that didn't dry matte like the first two collections


Bloggers

Buying a polish after trusting a blogger swatch but ending up with a completely different color! I hear ya, that is probably THE worst blogging crime.



Gnarly Gnails seems to have stopped blogging... was one of my favourite blogs - my thoughts exactly.  Missy was one of my closest friends in the blogging world, and even *I* can't get hold of her.  All I can tell you is that in the summer, real life intervened and she absolutely had to put that first.  I haven't heard from her for a long time, so I don't have any update beyond that.


Polished Perfectionist quit...Swatchaholic and Polished Elegance don't post enough anymore....Chit Chat Nails switched from square to almond-shaped nails.



Although you've expressed disappointment over specific polishes, it seems the biggest disappointment we experience is LOSS, either the voice of a blogger we have come to rely on as a friend, or a brand we have trusted and invested in.


Sadly, it can't always be positive, but luckily, your joys far outweigh your disappointments, and we'll be looking at those very soon :)



Ella Gee - My Year In 2 Polishes

Hi Goddesses


EllaGee is a brand that's started to get closer to my radar recently.  She offers a great variety of finishes, and I knew I had to feature her when I saw her Sparkling Gemstones Collection.  Here, Laura gives us a glimpse of the 2 polishes which made her year.


Best Selling Polish

 Ellagee Jewel Encrusted

My best-selling polish of the year at ellagee was a close race between Trenzalore, a soft blue-grey creamy scattered holo and Rainbow Syrup, a linear holo top coat, until Black Friday weekend. A brand new release, Jewel Encrusted, passed them both up in one weekend! It's a textured holo glitterbomb that looks like jewels in a treasure chest full of gold and silver.



Favourite Polish You've Released This Year

Shake A Poor Sinner's Hand 

My favourite polish released this year is Shake A Poor Sinner's Hand, a sparkly red-violet linear holo inspired by The Shadow Man from the movie, The Princess and The Frog. It's part of my Villainous Holo-ween collection that I decided to keep around as regular stock. I don't have any other purples quite like it in my collection.


My most successful launch this year was the A Good Man collection inspired by Doctor Who which was launched in July. It kind of shocked me with how well it sold when it was first released and it continues to do well. I think it was also the collection I had the most fun with, I spent a lot of time going through old Doctor Who episodes for ideas.


Wanna follow Ella Gee?


Gotta Buy Ella Gee




Saturday, 20 December 2014

2014 Review of the Year - My Year of 2 Halves

Hi Goddesses



Today's post is one some of you have specifically asked for, and also a story I wanted to tell.  This year has been a very different blogging year for me, and a LOT has changed as a result, so here is my story of a year ... in 2 halves.



I'm going to take you back to roughly this time last year.  December is my biggest blogging month by a mile.  As well as my normal content, I also do my end of year reviews AND the Crumpet Readers Poll, meaning I typically treble my output.  That's a lot of blogging.



In the middle of all this I had just been made redundant by a company I loved, had just found a new job, and was also about to throw myself into a new 31 Day Challenge.  So far, so "normal".


Somehow, I got through that, but then I broke.  Sometime near the end of January I hit the milestone I had pursued for so long - 1 million page views.   Euphoria and skippy dances hit quickly, and I launched a massive giveaway.  And then meltdown struck.



Running a giveaway with 30 odd prizes, all with different winners and sponsors is not easy.  Somewhere between picking all the winners, and calmly replying to them when they wanted to know immediately whether their prize had been sent zapped me.   I also came down with flu for the first time in about 5 years, and the combination just wiped me out.


I did the good girl thing and went to bed, and didn't fret too much about the blog .... until I saw how big my review pile had gotten.  I'm not the biggest or the best blogger, and usually my pile is very manageable, but with being poorly and feeling swamped, I suddenly had review packages from 6 different brands - and no energy to do them.



So I took a break.  I spoke a lot to my DD girls and asked their advice.  I fretted that the blog I'd worked SO hard to build would wither and disappear overnight if I took even 1 day off from it.  They convinced me it wouldn't, and so, effectively, I took a month off.


Sometimes you become so immersed in something that it becomes impossible to see how it affects you, and I had lost sight of how blogging stole my every waking moment when I wasn't working.  It's no exaggeration to say it was stealing 40 hours of my week.  Also, it had started to feel like a treadmill.  The joy was waning, and I really did think there was a big chance I just wouldn't come back.  But I did.



So why did my break / breakdown not become total burnout?   I'm not sure.  I honestly think it could have gone either way, and the whole point of stepping back was to test my appetite, to see if I WOULD miss it.  What I found was that I missed some things more than others, so I kept what I missed, and ditched what I didn't.


That meant I didn't volunteer for every challenge under the sun.  It meant I wouldn't break my balls posting dull swatch posts I didn't want to write.  It meant I wouldn't keep adding to my vault like it was a pile of gold - all it was was a millstone round my neck.



And finally, I learnt how to breathe.   I purposely decided to take it slower.  Beyond the Digital Dozen, I didn't commit to much.  I got those 6 reviews posted, and whilst all the brands understood, not all of them have come to me, but I guess that's a price worth paying.  I emptied the vault.  I emptied the Fucking Vault !!!  Man, that was a day of Hallelujah when that happened.  And I started doing things I'd wanted to do for ages - stash posts and tutorials, although they could be a lot more professional!



These days, I still blog a lot, but my pattern has changed.  Instead of being an all week thing, it's mostly (not completely, but mostly) a weekend thing.  I'll paint on the Saturday and then schedule the week on a Sunday.  And I've got to tell you, the sweet joy of that schedule button is amazing - it lifts a massive pressure.



Nowadays, if I'm tired by Wednesday, and there is no post scheduled for Thursday, then there ends up being no post for Thursday.  I've learnt it's far more important for me to rest, or watch TV, or just chill with Beth than it is to write a post with half-closed eyes that is bound to be shit.



As you know, LOTS of my blogging friends lost their mojo this year.   So many of them were in the DD with me, and it feels weird that I survived this journey, and they didn't.  Maybe I paused before the moment of no return.  Maybe that time out saved me.  Who knows.


What I do know is that there WILL be a day when I quit.  I honestly thought that day would be this year, but it wasn't.  When it will be, I don't know, but I know I'll just KNOW.  (Oh and I do have a plan to make sure Spring 2015 doesn't end up leaving me wrecked like 2014 did).



In the meantime, the only way to survive the ride is to have fun.  DON'T make it your second job.  IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN.   


The minute you get that treadmill feeling, STOP.  That's not how it's supposed to be.


The minute you find yourself trying to swatch 30 polishes in a weekend, STOP.  That's not how it's supposed to be.


The minute you find yourself with tears of frustration because your nail  art / tape mani / water marble sucks, STOP.  That's not how it's supposed to be.


And the minute you tell your daughter you'll be with her in 5 minutes, knowing it's more likely to be 35, STOP.  THAT is not how it's supposed to be.



Real life matters.  And without a real life, you're just a blogging robot.


Thank you to each and every one of you who helped me through this year, who counselled me, encouraged me, told me to take all the time I needed.  THANK YOU.  You sustained me, and made this something worth coming back for.  I am so glad we're still together for this weird ride.


Lots of love and Christmas wishes to you all.

Debbie xx



Arcane Lacquer - A Year In 2 Polishes

Hi Goddesses



Arcane Lacquer is a relative newbie on the block, but wow, what a stunner.  Run by Bec, an ex-blogger, her polishes are full of a dark vampy magic I just can't get enough of.  Here Bec gives us a glimpse of the 2 polishes which made her year.


Best Selling Polish

 Strutter - Perfect Imperfections - Arcane Lacquer - Nail Polish 12ml

Strutter



Favourite Polish You've Released This Year

 Make A Move - Redefine - Arcane Lacquer - Nail Polish 12ml

Strutter. Wait, or Make A Move, it's a tie. Lol



Wanna follow Arcane Lacquer?


Gotta Buy Arcane




25 Days of Bloggers - The Dalai Lama's Nails

Hi Goddesses




Do you follow The Dalai Lama's Nails?   If you don't, you really should, and here's why -

- bright, bold nail art

- lovely "doodles"

- clean, uncluttered designs that make me happy


Here's Hannah, in her own words - 

The Dalai Lama's Nails is my nail art sanctuary - a celebration of all things nail art and nail polish. I love to do intricate and geometric freehand nail art! The Dalai Lama's Nails is inspired by Tibetan monks who spend many hours assembling geometric art (manadalas) from individual grains of sand and then wipe their designs away as a sign of impermanence. I love the idea of temporary art, and I try to celebrate those ideals through interesting nail art! 

Hannah is another Digit-al Dozen alum, and I love each month how she draws her inspiration from such different things.  She's very "cultural", and I love seeing how she draws art from other countries into her manis.

 The Digital Dozen does Thankfulness - night sky nail art | The Dalai Lama's Nails

Digital Dozen and #BusyGirlNails - family tree | The Dalai Lama's Nails 

 The Dalai Lama's Nails | Blue Delft Flower nail art

 The Dalai Lama's Nails | Digital Dozen does Floral: Floral Doodle

 The Dalai Lama's Nails | 31DC2014 Inspired by Art: Nail Art

The Dalai Lama's Nails | 31DC2014 Orange Soda Fanta Nail Art

The Digital Dozen does Summer: Day 1 - popsicles | The Dalai Lama's Nails

The Dalai Lama's Nails: Contrasting Zebra Hearts, inspired by Nail Polish Society

The Digital Dozen does Metal - Retro Robots

 The Dalai Lama's Nails: The Digital Dozen does Decades - 1960s tie dye

The Dalai Lama's Nails: The Digital Dozen does Decades - 1980s

Wanna follow Hannah?




Reviewing the 2014 Bucket List - Was It A Load of Bollocks?

Hi Goddesses





Today we're going to review what my blogging goals for 2014 were back in January, and whether they came to pass.  At this point, I honestly can't remember what I wanted to achieve.  Usually, that would be unthinkable, but after I took my break in Spring, I decided goals weren't what it was about, so this could be interesting!




Instagram!  I've dabbled, but I want to get more engaged with it, and use it for sneak peeks, fun, mistakes - behind the scenes type of stuff.
I'm setting my goal to finish on 5k followers (I'm on 1035 or something now).

Lol, I am CRAP at IG.  It just doesn't fit with my lifestyle AT ALL.  At the moment I am just shy of 2k followers, and can't decide whether to ditch it or not.  I'd be better at it if you could schedule posts :(






Facebook - I think this is the platform that will continue to be most follower's choice, as it redirects you to the blog, and it's also a great way to link to brands.  I am currently on 4231 followers, and I'd like to believe I could get to 10k in 2014 .... yes!  We can do that!

Oh, did I not understand Facebook algorithms!   Whilst some blogs have soared to 3m followers overnight, others of us are stuck or trundling along.  I am currently at 8k and adding about 10 followers a day.  I am well happy with that.



Golden Oldies.   It's always about the new, so I am determined in 2014 to find a way to use my older polishes that I love, but never use!  This is going to be by way of a weekly challenge in Crumpet's Nail Tarts called GOT Polish (Golden Oldie Thursdays).  (I'll explain the rules shortly in a separate post).


This was a great success, and the principle of GOT is still part of the 52WPNMC, altho I need to be better at going back to my boxes, instead of just what's on the nail desk.

image sourced from http://dailysomething.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/041812-nonkonad.jpg

Find non-stamping polishes that stamp awesomely.  I hate always feeling I have to stamp in black or white, or silver and gold lol, even though I own a whole Konad rainbow.  I am sure I must own 100 polishes that stamp - surely?


Nope, crap at this one lol.   Haven't tackled this AT ALL.  Instead, I just bought All The Stamping Polishes!



The Digit-al Dozen blog - for those of you who don't know, the DD now has its own website - HERE.   We have a lot of plans for it in 2014 (which I won't go into here) and I am absolutely committed to making those happen.


Ah, yes, the DD blog.  Do you know what, this is one of my real sadnesses of the year.  In setting it up, we lost of 2 of the DD's best members, and then keeping it going was like pushing treacle uphill.  It was too ambitious and too hard to fit into daily blogging life.  Eventually I called time on it in the summer because it was just Too Hard.  Ain't nobody got time for dat.



Content I Love.  This is a big one for me.   I've been in a semi-slump recently, and partly it's been because I feel I've been posting stuff I've "had to", and which has left me feeling uninspired.   So, this may mean fewer posts.  It may mean fewer challenges, or just being less uptight about doing every day of every challenge.  It may mean being more selective about what products I choose to review.  To be honest, it's probably ALL those things lol.  But I know when I'm writing a post, that if I don't love it, there's less chance you will, and that's not good.


I actually think this happened, albeit not the way I planned.  My break / breakdown was a huge wake up call, and I do think the blog has been looser and more "me" since then.  Be prepared for that to continue.



Behind The Scenes - something I've been meaning to do for ages, but I'd like to show you all the other things that go into being a blogger.  It's not all about swatches and nail art, and I think we can have a lot of fun together if I show you how I go about deciding on content, piecing it together, my frustrations.  And yes, tutorials.  Undoubtedly this will involve YouTube.


Nah.  This was ambitious, and in a perfect world where I had lots of money and all day to blog, this would definitely happen.  There have been tippy-toes in this direction, but not immersion.  We'll see.




More Bluebelle and Baby Crumpet - lol.  Sometimes, it's the little things that make a difference.  I've already spoken to Beth about her future role and she is very excited.  Bluebelle, not so much.  


Er, no.  Beth's interest in polish waned dramatically with no warning!  However, she seems to be getting her groove back, so stay tuned.  Bluebelle, still not so much.



And finally ... how I present my swatches.   I hate just churning out plain photos of a polish, so I want to find a way to bring those more to life.  NO IDEA how I'm going to do that yet, but hey, I've got a whole year to figure it out, right?

??? WTF did this mean? I have no idea.  



And .. yes, the finally wasn't finally haha.  My good friend Sheila of Pointless Cafe has just hit 2million blog views.  What is interesting is that she hit 1million just back in April, so she has achieved her 2nd million in 9 months - an amazing achievement.

So ... my blog is due to hit the magic million in February, so I am setting the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of 2million page views before the end of 2014.  I am not honestly sure it's doable, but I am intrigued to see how far I can get :)


Nope.  Big fat no.  I think blogging has changed.  Blog READING is in the minority, and my page views have shrunk by about 1/3 this year.  I am currently at 1.4m.  Not too shabby, but not the world domination I expected hahah.


FYI - there is no Bucket List for 2015.  For once in my life, I am just going to live in the moment.  Eeeeeeek!



Er, yes?


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