Kiran Branch meets blogger and YouTube vlogger Lily Pebbles to find out how she went from student to social media star
Acclaimed for its beauty reviews, style tips and videos, GTG decided to mark the fourth blogiversary of Lily Pebbles by picking the brains behind the beauty blog. Kiran Branch sat down with the hit site’s namesake herself to talk about her journey so far and her ultimate beauty products.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog/vlog?
I started my blog at university as a part of my Digital Marketing module. They encouraged us to start a blog and use Twitter - as I was already following quite a few fashion blogs it was the push I needed. I started my YouTube channel a few years later as an extension of my blog because sometimes it’s just easier to chat!
How did you decide upon a blog/vlog name?
My original blog name was 'What I Heart Today' and I had about ten minutes to decide on it in class. I wanted something that was quite general because at the time I wasn't sure what the blog would be about. Over time it has developed and is now just called Lily Pebbles, which goes alongside all my social media channels and my YouTube.
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging/vlogging and are there any downsides?
I love having a creative output that is mine to control. It's an amazing thing to be able to trial products and then write them up for people to read about. My favourite part of blogging is reading the comments on each post and getting feedback from readers. I love making videos and always have done because you work so hard on something and then when you edit and upload it there is a real sense of achievement. There aren't many things I dislike about blogging/vlogging but of course when you put yourself out there on the internet you can't expect everyone to love you and you have to accept there will be some negative comments.
How much of a techie are you?
I am a huge techie geek and have been since I was little. I still have a lot to learn in terms of camera lenses and editing software, but I could sit for hours researching new ways to improve my photos and videos.
How do you balance blogging/vlogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
Now that I do it full-time I try to give myself weekends off, but social media never sleeps so I don't really ever log off Twitter or Instagram. I love it though so it doesn't feel like a burden, it's just part of my life! My phone is the first and last thing I check in the morning and evening, I even watch YouTube videos in the bath!
How do you decide what to feature on your blog/vlog?
I am constantly testing out new products and they don't all make it onto the site, only the ones I'd really recommend. Because of this, I have to really trial things for a while and decide whether it's worth a mention or not and I've just got used to knowing what works for me, what doesn't and what others might like even if I don't. I post about ten times a week, mainly beauty with a bit of lifestyle thrown in and I upload weekly beauty videos every Thursday. With my videos, I just try to think about what I would want to watch but the quality of my videos is important to me so I spend a lot of time planning and filming them.
What beauty products or brands make you part with cold hard cash?
I literally cannot walk past a Space NK without going in and spending a small fortune. The brands they have are perfect, some of my favourites are Emma Hardie, Sarah Chapman, NARS, Laura Mercier & Diptyque.
What's your skincare regime? What products do you use?
I'm not a morning person so I try to keep it simple just using the Radical Hydrating Cleanser, £30, Hydraluron , £24.99, and Origins Ginzing Moisturiser , £23. In the evening I spend a bit more time, using Bioderma, Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm , £34, Pai Eye Cream , £28, and Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial , £45. If I'm doing a mask it'll either be the Aesop Parsley Seed Masque , £27 or the Origins Overnight Intensive Mask , £11.
Down to the nitty gritty: what’s in your make-up bag currently?
I'm currently reaching for the same products everyday which include the new YSL Forever Youth Liberator Foundation , £34, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer , £21, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light, £38, NARS Laguna , £26, MAC Stereo Rose Blush , £20, and Rimmel 'Nearly Naked' lipstick , £6.49. I switch up my eye make-up quite a bit but at the moment I'm keeping it simple with a Clinique Chubby Stick for Eyes in Fuller Fudge £17, MAC Teddy Eyeliner, £14, and the Tom Ford Lengthening Mascara , £34.
Who are your top people in health, beauty and fitness? Who do you rely on in a crisis?
I'm a bit naughty when it comes to fitness but I try to be healthy in terms of what I eat and how I get around London. My mum is so knowledgeable when it comes to having a balanced diet so I use her as my guide but if I'm being really well behaved then I like to check out Carly Rowena's fitness videos on YouTube as they're really easy to follow.
What’s your personal favourite hair and beauty look?
My hair is mid length so it looks best when it's down and roughed up. I like to use the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray , £38 in the roots and the Bumble & Bumble Semi Sumo , £21.50, on the ends. My make-up look is usually quite neutral using browns and golden shades, sometimes with a bright lip.
What’s your ultimate favourite beauty treatment?
I am a sucker for a massage and recently had one with my favourite brand Aromatherapy Associates. They have different oils to suit your mood and it was incredible!
What’s your top health and beauty tip and your biggest beauty bugbear?
Two quite obvious but essential tips come to mind; wash your brushes and drink water! It's important to keep your make-up brushes clean so you aren't clogging your skin with bacteria and I use Dr Bronner's Magic Soap , £3.99, to do this once a week. Drinking water is an obvious one but really does make a difference to how your skin looks and how you feel. My biggest beauty bugbear is when I see people doing their make-up on the tube and literally painting on heavy foundation onto their skin that's also too dark for them. Getting the right foundation colour is so important and most people wear more than they need to!
Can you tell us about any hair and beauty blunders that you’ve experienced?
My whole teenage life was one big beauty blunder. I used to wear black eyeliner in my waterline which is a bad idea for someone with my shape eyes, I also used to attempt to blow-dry my curly hair but never quite got it past the frizzy stage. I also once cut my fringe myself to try and get the Rachel Green look but ended up with one big chunk of hair that was far too short and one-sided.
What do you like to take with you when you go away?
I like to make up a little aeroplane beauty kit and inside I have a This Works Deep Sleep Rollerball , £12, Caudalie Beauty Elixir , £11.50, Origins Overnight Intensive Mask , £11, Bioderma , £4.40, cotton wool, By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Balm , £35 and Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Cream , £14.
Who is your favourite blogger/ vlogger?
I have so many but some of my daily reads include Vivianna Does Makeup, Amelia Liana, Cupcakes & Cashmere and A Beautiful Mess. Some of my favourite vloggers are Lisa Eldridge, Fun for Louis and Essie Button.
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 it's important to remember that it takes time to grow your audience and as long as you are making an effort to be interactive and engaging on social media, you should let it grow organically. Try to be yourself and have your own opinion as that in itself will make you unique and interesting. I wouldn't do anything differently because all my mistakes and corrections have been a part of getting to where I am now.
If you could invite anyone dead or alive to guest blog/ vlog on your site who would it be?
How many times have we seen a Marilyn Monroe inspired red lip blog post? Well I think a post from the lady herself would go down pretty well in the blogosphere!
What does the future hold for your blog/vlog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
At the moment I'm focusing on creating more content, improving my skills and thinking about some ideas for 2014. I think my site and channel will naturally develop into something else as I grow up with it, but for now I'm pretty happy with where it is.