Kiran Branch chats to Really Ree about the wonderful world of blogging and how she became a pro

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Anne Marie Lodge, AKA Ree is the beauty aficionado responsible for super blog Really Ree . Known for  imparting all kinds of wonderful beauty wisdom from the best fake tan to the latest facial, beauty maven Ree is quite the beauty sensation. GTG’s Kiran Branch sat down with Ree herself to talk about her blogging journey so far, top beauty buys and experimenting with new looks.

Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog/vlog?

I joined Twitter and discovered the world of blogs just by following people that had similar interests to me. I realised that lots of the things I had been reading online were actually blogs and it made me think what a great role they had to play in modern culture. Plus, who is more interesting to talk about than you!?

I did English at uni but ended up working as a recruitment consultant. I think that is what happens when you have no idea what to do in life!  Blogging about beauty and style completely matched my skillset and completely captured my interest. It took me a while to find my dream job but I got there in the end.

How did you decide upon a blog/vlog name?

ReallyRee was my Twitter name before I started the blog. It was kind of a joke on the whole "the real...." that celebrities use. It was quite catchy so I kept it. There have been many times that I regretted it, but now that I have carved a space for myself, I am really happy with it.

What’s your favourite aspect of blogging/vlogging and are there any downsides?

I love the fact that, for the majority of the time, it doesn't feel like work because I absolutely love the things I am writing about. Sometimes I sit cross-legged on the floor surrounded by amazing samples from all my favourite beauty brands and just play with it all. That’s when I genuinely can't get over how lucky I am!

The downside is when I am still writing at two in the morning. It is very hard to switch off and there are never enough hours in the day! Also because it’s quite a personal job, everything that happens feels incredibly personal too. Sometimes your emotions are over-exposed.

How much of a techie are you?

Not at all unfortunately. I am the ultimate accidental blogger!

How do you balance blogging/vlogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?

I am rarely offline. I think you just kind of lose something if you vanish and it is quite hard to re-engage with people when you return. As blogging is a full time thing for me, I have to confess to not really doing much else. Beauty and style are my main interests so they are utterly covered off with the blog. I have a son and try to spend as much non-blogging time with him as I can. It is tricky because there is always something to write about and there is never a good point to switch off the laptop. I tend to work until quite late at night after he has gone to bed.

How do you decide what to feature on your blog/vlog?

This is easy. If I find it interesting and love a product, I feature. If I don’t, I won’t. My blog is a special place for me and I like to write about only the things that really capture my attention and admiration. If I don’t particularly like something, it doesn’t make it on to the blog. Simple!

What beauty products or brands make you part with cold hard cash?

I love YSL’s glam but edgy make-up, I do enjoy a browse in BeautyMart and now the new Dior store has opened in Covent Garden, I think I could probably do some damage there! Also I make sure I am never out of Imedeen Hair and Nails , £21.24.

What's your skincare regime? What products do you use?

Well, I test a lot of stuff. Some days my poor skin doesn’t know whether it is coming or going! I really enjoy a multi-stage routine – always at least a double cleanse, tone, serum/lotion/hydrator then moisturise. At the moment I am using L’Occitane Divine Lotion , £28, and Divine Cream , £72. They are perfect for winter skin. This time of year I really rely on moisture masks – among my favourites are Origins Drink Up , £22, and Gatineau Radiance Mask,  £40.

What's your haircare regime? What products do you use?

Again, I try a lot of products. I am a big fan of Aveda (particularly the Brilliant range) and Wella (luxe light spray). But there are so many great products out there. I try to do a weekly mask – Aveda’s Damage Repair , £20.50, Her Haircare Ritual Trecento Treatment , £26, Wella Repair,  £15.50… the list goes on. I also really like Pantene’s new Age Defy range – I like the concept of anti-ageing for hair and recently got to chat to Courteney Cox on the phone about it!

I always use heat protection. Always. For styling, I must confess a huge soft spot for Oribe’s luxury products. They are pricey but hair junkies love them!

Down to the nitty gritty, what’s in your make-up bag currently?

YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation , £34; Estee Lauder Double Wear High Cover Concealer,  £21; Daniel Sandler Slim & Sculpt Contour Palette , £24.50; Michael Kors Sporty Bronzer , £34; Charlotte Tilbury Love Glow Blush,  £30; Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eyeshadow Stick in Bronze , £12.50; Naked 3 palette, £37 (available from the 16th December 2013); Tom Ford Double Ended Liquid Eye liner (not available in the UK); Max Factor Excess Volume Extreme Impact Mascara (available from January 2014) and Clarins Gloss Prodige in Water Lily ,  £17. Wow! That’s a lot! It takes longer to type than do!

Who are your top people in health, fitness, hair and beauty? Who do you rely on in a crisis?

When I need to shift a few pounds or want a bit of a health boost, Purifyne Juice Cleanses  always do the job. They are hard to do but totally worth it. And each time I have done one, it has been easier. For hair, I only ever have it cut by Andreas Wild at the John Frieda salon in Mayfair – he’s amazing and also makes me laugh! I had my last colour at Trevor Sorbie and totally love it. For beauty, I absolutely adore facials from Marie Reynolds. She makes magic happen.

What’s your personal favourite hair and beauty look?

I love soft, flowing waves, fresh, juicy, glowing skin, lots of lashes and either a glossy nude lip, or a matte red power pout!

What’s your ultimate beauty treatment?

I really enjoy any kind of Elemis treatment, the whole vibe is so relaxing. Also, as I said, time with Marie Reynolds. I love manicures and pedicures because I am all about the nails! Ultimately though, I am at my happiest when I am getting my hair done.

What’s your top health and beauty tip and your biggest beauty bugbear?

Apart from the standard cleansing and moisturising, I always carry an eye cream and a concealer in my handbag. If my skin gets dehydrated during the day, I lightly pat eye cream on top of my makeup (anywhere on my face) and then touch up if I need to with concealer. It makes a world of difference to fine lines.

My biggest bugbear is when products don’t have enough information, and I have to make up how to use them as I go along. Often it is how you use something that makes all the difference, so it is really frustrating when you have to guess.

Can you tell us about any hair and beauty blunders that you’ve experienced?

A couple of years ago I reviewed a salon and they gave me the worst thin hair ever. I cried. It taught me a lesson not to be so blasé about where I go. In terms of beauty, I think I make a lot of blunders, but that is the fun of experimenting! I definitely got over-obsessed with fake tan at one stage!

What do you like to take with you when you go away?

Last time I travelled I took away the Origins Christmas bauble , £12!  It had quite a few of my faves in and the perfect sizes for a few days. That’s the first time I have travelled with a bauble though! I always pack my BaByliss Curling Wand Pro , £20, in case my hair needs a new lease of life.

Who is your favourite blogger/ vlogger?

I love loads but I adore Ruth Crilly from A Model Recommends. She’s a good girl.

What would be your advice to aspiring bloggers/ vloggers? Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to turn back time?

I think consistency is key; if you blog regularly, people will keep coming back to see what is new. Always include your personality, and there’s no crime in making up your own words every now and then! I don’t think I would do much differently to be honest. It was all a bit of accident in the first place so I am not even totally sure quite what it was that I did.

If you could invite anyone dead or alive to guest blog/ vlog on your site who would it be?

Nicole Scherzinger. I love her.

What does the future hold for your blog/ vlog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?

All I know is that I want to keep doing what I am doing. This is something that I can never get bored of, even if it can feel rather overwhelming at times. In terms of plans for the future, all I can say is… Watch this space! Excitementation! (That’s a made up word).