#MyBlogLife: STELLAR Meets Rebecca Barker From The Beauty Inbox
Self confessed beauty addict Rebecca Barker tells us about running a successful blog, and shares her can't-live-without products and favourite Irish cosmetic brands.
Facebook: The Beauty Inbox
How and when did you get into blogging?
I’m a writer but I didn’t have a corner of the internet to call my own, so that’s why I started the blog in early 2014. I focus mainly on beauty because I’m utterly obsessed with it and spend far too much time and money on it, like every other woman in the world!
How often do you blog?
I typically post on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. I try to aim for two to three posts a week but as I take care of my daughter Eve in the mornings and work for a newspaper in the evenings, it can get pretty crazy!
Did it take long to gather up your following?
Yeah. It does take a lot of time to attract followers on social media. The most successful bloggers are really, really dedicated to their feeds. I’d love to do more but I’m also a firm believer in posting quality over quantity. To misquote Kevin Costner, ‘if you post it, they will come!’
What do you think draws people to your blog?
I’d hope people would visit for an enjoyable read, a beauty recommendation or just to have a nosey at some pretty pictures. I’ve always been the goofy girl so I think readers can identify with that; I’m just an ordinary Irish mammy with a slightly out of control beauty obsession.
How do you make it stand out from the rest?
I try to make the blog a positive experience for readers and feature uplifting interviews, some funny real-life posts or product reviews that I really believe in. It’s definitely quality content over quantity. I only post about products I use and love, and have turned down sponsored posts as I know it’s not a product I could swear by. I hope that comes across to readers.
What’s your favourite thing to blog about?
My favourite subject to blog about is skincare. I had adult acne in my early twenties and it shattered my self-confidence. I spent the rest of my twenties educating myself on how to clear my skin up. So now I’m evangelical about good nutrition and great skincare. Even though my acne is gone, I never take a good skin day for granted and still think of myself as an acne sufferer.
What does a day of blogging involve for you?
At the moment, I don’t have a typical day of blogging. I usually take my photos about a week in advance and then I’ll write the post around the images a night or two before it’s due to go up. On the days I post, I try to schedule my social media in advance and then throughout the day I’ll check comments and respond to questions. I love hearing from other bloggers and readers; that’s my favourite part of the whole process.
How do you come up with unique material and ideas?
I look to international bloggers for inspiration and am obsessed with fashion, photography and design blogs such as Shine By Three, Oracle Fox or Vogue. I’ll often look at beautiful images and think, how I can I recreate that?
As a print journalist, I also devour magazines and newspapers and am inspired by the writing of many of our talented Irish journalists. I spend most of my day jotting down ideas in Evernote, in my diary or on scraps of paper. I’m a compulsive list-maker.
What’s the best thing about blogging?
The best thing about blogging is definitely meeting other bloggers for the chats. I’ve met so many witty, intelligent and gorgeous women since I’ve started the blog, it’s been amazing. And I also love the photography aspect of blogging. It’s an area I’d hope to explore more in the future. I’d love to go back to college and study it properly.
What’s the most difficult?
The most difficult aspect of blogging is finding the time to do it. Sometimes I lie awake at night with ideas for posts and pictures that I’d love to try but at the end of the day, I’m a mum first and a blogger second. Taking care of my little girl is my main priority every day and I try to fit in work around her schedule.
How do you take such nice photos? What kit do you use?
I’m still very much an amateur photographer! I use a Canon 1100D with kit lens and my Samsung Galaxy 5 when I’m out and about. Although I dropped my phone down the loo two weeks ago and I’m still waiting on a permanent replacement; it’s been hell without it!
What’s your husband’s role in the blog?
I’m married to my husband five years now. He’s my IT monkey and wrote the website from scratch. We’re together 15 years and have the same ideas about what is visually beautiful, which is handy. So while he’s obsessing over fonts and lines of code, I’m obsessing over the words and photos.
In terms of beauty products, what can you truly swear by?
I’m a massive fan of Laura Mercier and have tried and loved virtually every product. Her Silk Creme Foundation is a firm favourite in my make-up bag. I also love Smashbox for eyeshadows, MAC for lippies and Catrice and Rimmel for budget buys. I grew up on Rimmel!
How about skincare?
I love all French skincare. I’m such a Francophile! I adore anything by Decleor, La Roche Posay and Yon-Ka. I also swear by Mario Badescu Silver Powder and have gone through buckets of the stuff in the ten years I’ve been using it. If you have oily, congested blackheads or pores, this stuff will dry those bad boys right up.
What do you think are the best Irish products out there?
I love Bia Beauty and am on my fifth or sixth tub of their Orange & Grapefruit Facial Exfoliant; it’s divine. I also recently had a Voya seaweed bath and facial on a weekend away and I literally glowed with good health for days after.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is very simple and I typically only wear black, grey and white; it’s one less decision to make every day. When I’m at the playground with my little girl, I’ll wear skinny jeans, a pair of trainers and a t-shirt. For work I only wear dresses, usually black, and a pair of heels. I always paint my nails red and I adore a red lip.
Where do you shop?
I always shop on the high street and I’m usually dressed head to toe in Zara. I also love the androgyny of Cos. I now only wear Dr Denim jeans (from BT2) as they do the best high-waisted skinny ones. After you’ve had a baby, you’ll want to tuck that tummy in! Sadly, my days of low-rider jeans are well over.
Any hidden places that we need to know about?
I love The Loft Market in the Powerscourt Townhouse in Dublin for fantastic Irish fashion and jewellery. My husband recently bought me an emerald ring by Irish designer Chupi and I’m obsessed with it!
Any tips for aspiring bloggers?
I would tell aspiring bloggers not to wait around for the ‘right’ time, get started now. Also don’t dwell on others’ successes, perceived or otherwise. Do your own thing. Finally, be nice. People will never remember what you said but how you made them feel.