The greatest truth about blogging is that it's a thing to be done when the mood is right, and as you'll see from the lack of posts in 2015, I've not been especially inspired. I've long battled with the fact that I started this blog to write about beauty (on day one, this site was called The Beauty Hall), but in recent years, I've become less and less enamoured with the image-obsessed world of social media (hence I had a slight re-brand to Beyond the beauty hall) and I yearned to do something different. But finding a new niche away from beauty was trickier than I thought, and that change of name still didn't feel entirely right. I agonised over the decision to edit out all of the beauty content here, or whether to abandon it all and move to a completely new blog for a fresh start. I chose the latter option, hoping for inspiration, but I wrote a grand total of one post. Now I find myself back here, right where it all started.
I'd thought returning to this blog might feel like an admission of failure, but in a way, it makes complete sense for me to be back. The way this blog has changed in the five years since it was created is part of the story, and where I want to go next is informed by everything that's gone before. Leaving and starting afresh just didn't feel quite right, and perhaps the simplest option - to just keep going - was always going to win out in the end. As I said at the start, if the mood takes you, it's probably best to just go with it, and that's exactly what I'm doing.
That same desire for 'newness' that motivated my decision to create a new blog is a cornerstone of beauty blogging. Yet 'new' has a short lifespan in beauty, and the PR machine behind the biggest brands means that there are now mere moments between release and total ubiquity. The latest product, the exclusive pre-release, the innovative new technology, and the sea of bloggers covering every launch, often reviewing products before their release, means that things get old pretty quickly. Those products that are deemed 'holy grail' today will often be ousted in favour of the next big thing tomorrow. Nothing is forever, and that's never been more true than in an industry expected to turnover $265 billion by 2017.
What I want to pursue here is the idea that 'new' doesn't equal 'better'. I want a site that makes people feel good about what they have and who they are, rather than something that reinforces or creates anxieties and insecurities. What we see on blogs is a tiny, idealised part of people's lives, but it's presented as a glossy and complete world. We see edited photos, the latest products sent for free, expensive wardrobes, and an endless stream of events and parties, and our own lives look less by comparison. We see young woman speak with authority on diet and exercise routines, posting pictures of toned bodies and green smoothies, with little thought about the impact they're having on the attitudes and outlooks of girls for whom instagram isn't just a place to look at pretty things, but the lens through which they view the world: a world that is filtered and manipulated to such an extent that it can no longer be considered real. The message that there will always be something to make you look prettier or younger never stops, and I'd like this site to be a bit of a break from that.
So at last, I'm finally confident to say that things really will look a little different around here. I will never again stop myself from blogging because I haven't got a photograph to accompany the post; I won't be driven by what's happening in the beauty hall, and will instead just write about the things that I think, like or dislike, and if you enjoy that, I'm very happy. But for the first time ever, I can finally say that this site is for me, and that feels pretty good.