7 Years Online

So, where do I start? This week marks the seventh anniversary of me starting YouTube. In seven years I can’t believe how far things have come, how much I’ve shared, how many of you I’ve connected with and how much I’ve seen the community around me grow. What started as a bit of fun sharing something I loved has turned into an all-encompassing force in my life that accounts not only for my job, but also for a lot of the rest of my life too.

I’ve met a lot of friends over the years, seen what was a small community of like-minded people turn into a powerful industry in its own right and have been lucky enough to call myself part of a wonderfully creative new digital world. I therefore thought, what better time to sit back and reflect on everything that’s happened during my time online, how it’s shaped me as a person and share a few plans I have for the future too…

So, how has it changed and shaped me over the past seven years?

Well, I’m definitely more confident in myself. It’s put me into situations that would have previously left me a nervous wreck; talking on stage in front of hundreds of people, meeting incredibly successful and influential people and learning how to hold my own. It’s also taught me how to look out for my own emotional wellbeing too, and why that’s so important.

When you put your life on the internet for people to see, you’re essentially putting yourself out there for all sorts of potential criticism and for people to air their opinion on your personal life. Something that we deal with in our ‘normal’ day to day life, but not quite on the same level. It’s like being a fly on the wall to every conversation people have about you behind your back. It’s part and parcel of being an ‘internet person’ but that doesn’t mean you automatically know how to deal with it. It’s an alien situation when you first start… A stream of feedback on anything and everything about what you put online, good and bad. You have to learn to process it, and quickly! Being exposed to this kind of feedback has allowed me to grow a much thicker skin than before, both in terms of not letting negativity get me down, and not letting positive feedback go to my head either. It’s definitely a fine balance, although that’s not to say that it doesn’t ever get me down occasionally… I’m only human and at times it does knock your confidence, but it’s all about learning to dust yourself off and start again with renewed self-assurance and I think that’s something I’ve mastered over the years.

My journey on YouTube has also taught me a huge deal about the less exciting things in life too, Fresh out of university I fell in to running my own small business unintentionally and (although it seems like child’s play on the outside, and I’ll never, ever try to argue that my job is anything like the traditional concept of ‘work’ – it’s far too much fun!) It does have a more serious side… accounts, tax returns and legal documents were a huge hurdle for me in the beginning and I’ve definitely learnt a great deal about all of that side of things (an area I was completely clueless about previously!)

More than anything else, seven years is a really long time and inevitably, I’ve grown up. I’ve graduated from university, bought my first home, got married. A lot of people talk about ‘change’ and whether it’s in a good way or bad, I really don’t think I’ve changed too much over the years, despite ‘growing up’ an awful lot. The people around me have largely remained the same and I think that’s a huge part of it. The majority of friends that I have now I’ve known since childhood and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon… and of course Mike, the most positive and kind influence in my life, has been there since before YouTube (a state which now seems unfathomable to me… a life without YouTube?! I just can’t!) So overall, yes, my life has changed and I’ve inevitably changed a bit in myself, but I’m still the same person with largely the same interests, so yes… my content is still largely the same.

So on to the content… My content has changed a little over the years, I think (and would hope!) you’ve noticed a big difference in the production quality as I’ve learnt more about cameras, lighting, editing etc, but overall I do have to say that there are so many people making similar content around beauty and fashion now. I’m keen to switch it up a bit. I love the topics that I talk about, but some of the formats needs a bit of a re-vamp in my opinion… a little spring clean as it were!

You may have noticed on my channel over the past few weeks I’ve been adding in a few different styles and formats. Well, expect that and more over the next few months. Today I’m having a total re-design of my blog and my YouTube channel, so you’ll notice a bit of a change in the way everything looks (I hope you like it?!) I’ve also got some really exciting new video formats coming your way over the next few months that I hope to make regular on my channel if you like them (so make sure you let me know, either on social or in the comments!) along with re-vamping some of the ‘old classics’ (you may have noticed I’ve changed the way I’m doing monthly favourites already?)

I’m also hoping to upload more content, hopefully switching to three videos per week instead of two, but for the moment, I’m keeping that extra video on a bonus basis and we’ll see how we get on. I only want to up the amount of content if the quality can stay the same, so it might be on a more ad-hoc basis depending on how much I have to talk about that week!

To finish off this rather personal (and lengthly) post, I wanted to thank you all. If you’re reading this, you’ve had such a huge impact on my life. In teaching me all the things I’ve mentioned above, in allowing me to pursue what I love doing as a career and also in just being a great support and positive force in my life. I really hope I’m still here doing this in seven years time and more than anything… I hope you’re still here reading or watching!

Thank you all for a wonderful seven years, here’s to seven more! I’ve compiled a little selection of pictures from throughout the years too… some special YouTube-related moments and memories I wanted to share with you all. It’s a little thin on the ground before 2012 (when Instagram came into my life) but let me know if any of you remember these the first time around?! Sorry the quality’s not the best on a lot of them as most are my personal snaps, and they aren’t in chronological order thanks to blogger uploading them out of sync… enjoy!

In Japan with Jo Malone – Tokyo, December 2015
Seeing myself on the big screen in the YouTube space New York! September 2015
Shooting with Rankin for InStyle magazine – September 2015
With my mum, dad and brother at my makeup launch, September 2015
In Zambia with Mike for Comic Relief – we were on our way to check out Emmanuel’s (back left) vegetable patch – Kitwe, Zambia, September 2014
In Nashville for my US book tour – October 2015
On live morning TV in Dallas during the US book tour! October 2015
Hosting a meet up with my friends Nikki and Chelsea at BeautyCon – New York, October 2015
Filming a video with Dulce Candy in LA – I’ve watched her videos since before I started so it was crazy to be filming with her after all these years! – LA, October 2015
In Chicago for the first time with ghd and my friend lauren! Cloud gate is awesome – Chicago, October 2014
Shooting for Seventeen Magazine’s Beauty Smartie Showdown with Ingrid, Heart, Lyndsey, Andrea, Tracy & Stephanie – LA, July 2013
Dressing up as Marylin Monroe for Seventeen Magazine – LA, July 2013
At the Blue Lagoon in Iceland with Becky – November 2015
Meeting Ingrid for the first time – San Francisco, 2010
Playing Dodgem’s on a cruise to nowhere with Zoe – Southampton, November 2014
With Niomi, Tamara, Gracie & Becky at the InStyle Project 13 Party – London, December 2015
Behind The Scenes at the shoot for my first book The Glam Guide, with my friend Gareth – London, December 2014
At the factory helping to perfect the formulation of my lipglosses – December 2014
Interviewing Mollie King for Maybelline – London, September 2013
Filming a live stream with Popsugar – LA, October 2013
At a Juicy Couture event in the very early days of YouTube with Gemma, Milly, Jennifer & Natalya – London, September 2010
The very first Cosmo Blog Awards with Sam & Nic Chapman and Gemma – London, September 2010
At the E! Golden Globes party with Victoria & Sammi – London, January 2015
Mike playing Dodgeball for Coppafeel – London, February 2016
Meeting Cat Deeley for Pantene – London, October 2013
Meeting Maisie Williams at the National Television Awards – London, January 2015
Sharing a dressing room with Nicole Scherzinger for a Red Nose Day shoot (she suggested taking selfies halway through having her makeup done and put on these crazy glasses?!) – London, January 2015
Watching Taylor Swift perform on the X Factor – London, November 2013
Hanging out with the Sorted Food boys at a Google event we were all speaking at – London, November 2013
Posing with a bath full of Kit Kats at the same event – London, November 2013
Walking the red carpet at the BAFTA’s with Mike – London, February 2016
Shooting my first Look Book style video – London, November 2013
Meeting Paul Smith with my friend Gemma (sorry Gemma, it’s the only one I had!) – London, March 2011
Eating MacDonalds with no hands for charity at StickAid – London, November 2013
Shooting with Rankin for the first time, for Very Exclusive – London, February 2015
Behind the scenes at a shoot for Teen Vogue with Meg – London, November 2013
One of my first ever proper brand jobs, at a shoot for MaxFactor – London, April 2011
At the Rankin shoot for Very Exclusive with Ally, Victoria & Lily – London, February 2015
Behind the scenes at the first shoot for my second book The Luxe Life – London, February 2016
At a shoot for L’Oreal with Becky and Amelia – London, December 2013
My first ever book signing – Milton Keynes, February 2015
Behind the scenes of my second book shoot for The Luxe Life – London, February 2016
On set for my MinMax shoot (where most of my thumbnail images were shot) – London, February 2015
Shooting at the Vintage Festival with some VERY retro hair – London, July 2011
On a shoot with Charles Worthington – London, March 2016
Shooting Project Runway! New York, December 2013
In Dubai with Braun and my friends Bridget, Sammi and Alex – Dubai, March 2015
On the red carpet at the Olivier Awards with my best friend Lissie – London, April 2016
In Dallas with my mum for BeautyCon… going to our first rodeo! Dallas, March 2015
On the red carpet for the TV BAFTA’s – umbrella and all! London, January 2014
Midnight swimming in LA before Coachella with Sammi and Anna! West Hollywood, April 2016
Interviewing Pharrell on the red carpet at the Brit Awards – London, February 2014
At Coachella with Sammi and Anna – Palm Springs, April 2016
With Shirley, Louise and Sammi at an event – London, May 2012
At Coachella with Becky – Palm Springs, April 2015
Meeting Bobbi Brown – London, April 2015
Shooting with Lisa Eldridge for Lancome – Paris, May 2016
Heading to Vidcon 2012 with Mike – LA, June 2012
On the red carpet before the TV BAFTA’s with Jess, Genevieve & Alex – London, May 2015
In Vegas with Tamara, Vic, Lisa & Camilla for Benefit’s Brow Launch – Las Vegas, May 2016
With two of my favourite people I’ve met through YouTube – Tati & Nikki – Las Vegas, May 2016
At Facebook HQ back in the day with Kate, Ree, Zoe & Anna! London, July 2012
Third time shooting with Rankin, this time for Essie – London, May 2016
The US YouTube crew taking on London for the Olympics – London, August 2012
Meeting Jessica Alba with Braun – Berlin, March 2014
Starting ‘Bride De Force’ with my sister – Home, August 2012
Getting ready to interview Kendall Jenner for The Estee Edit launch – London, May 2016
Backstage at BeautyCon London with Alix & Suzie – London, May 2015
Visiting the Harry Potter Studios for a private tour with my friend Lana – Watford, May 2015
Filming with ghd for Bride De Force with my sister – London, September 2012
Meeting Taylor Swift… probably the biggest highlight of my YouTube journey so far! – London, October 2012
Hosting a meet up in Dallas and meeting loads of awesome people – Dallas, Texas, April 2014
Attending the Glamour Women of The Year Awards with Lily, Anna & Amelia – London, June 2016
On set with BooHoo in Dubai – April 2014
Meeting Britney Spears! Las Vegas, June 2016
Filming with Nikki – LA, November 2012
In an ice bar for a Boohoo Christmas events with Gemma, Estee & Louise – London, November 2012
Filming Christmas Gift Guides with Mike – Home, November 2012
Taking my sister to Ascot with Dove – Ascot, June 2015
With the StyleHaul team and my friend Robin in Cannes to speak at Cannes Lions – Cannes, June 2015
On stage a Vidcon 2016 with Ben Brown and Judy & Benji – LA, June 2016
Learning how argan oil is made in morocco with The Body Shop – Agadir, Morocco, May 2014
At Vidcon 2015 with my friends Lana & Luzu – LA, June 2015
Shooting with Piglet for Estee Lauder – London, August 2015
Meeting my friend Jordan for the first time at my makeup launch – September 2016
At a photo shoot for Seventeen Magazine in LA… umbrella not required – I was SWEATING! – June 2014
Seeing my lashes in store for the first time! London, August 2015
At the launch of my lashes with Zoe, Anna, Jen & Lily – August 2015
Visiting the YouTube Offices – London, February 2013
Talking at the Edinburgh TV Festival – Edinburgh, August 2015
Filming with Tati – LA, July 2014
Wedding hair shoot with ghd – February 2013
At Disney World after Playlist Live 2013 – Florida, March 2013
With Kalel & Ingrid at Playlist Live – Florida, March 2013
Presenting on This Morning for the first time – London, August 2014
Shooting with my mum for Sainsbury’s – Home, August 2014
With Kalel in the Bahamas after Playlist Live – The Bahamas, March 2013
With my sister in New York for fashion week – she had never been to New York before so it was awesome to be able to take her! New York, September 2015
At the MAC Liptensity Launch – New York, September 2016
Filming with Lily Aldridge for Teen Vogue – New York, September 2015
Getting caught in the rain in Times Square with Tati & Becky – New York, April 2013