There’s just no doubt that 2011 was the year of the Beauty Blog. I can’t really go all retrospective because I have trouble remembering what happened last week never mind last February, but I can say that it is the year that beauty blogs well and truly landed. So, I’m just going to round up those things that I did as a blogger that as a freelance beauty writer (my day job), I’d never have had the chance to do.
A highlight as a blogger was going to Cosmoprof in Bologna as an *Official Cosmoprof Blogger*. While I loved my time there because the two other bloggers I was with were fabulous, it was an endurance test for the most part. Notably, being accommodated at the airport hotel, miles from anywhere, being sent to a dinner that seemed to be for packaging companies and being told off for talking during the awards for er, best box, being invited and then uninvited to the Vogue party and being herded into a Perspex cube at 4pm on the dot every day to write up our highlights. Also notable, the photographers that gate-crashed the hospitality suite every single day and styled it out when challenged; being secretly whisked into said hospitality suite while the hosts flat out denied to the photographers that there even was any hospitality suite. Sitting next to Debra Lippmann while she told me how her hair caught fire, smuggling the American blogger into a cab to the centre of Bologna for a proper Italian coffee because I couldn’t bear the fact that her long anticipated trip to Italy was only going to consist of the airport hotel and the inside of the exhibition. Getting hideously lost with my PR friend, Lynne, and although we could see the hotel we were aiming for, the spaghetti junction road arrangements meant we couldn’t actually get to it. And, trying to reclaim my expenses… now that is a story. 
I also went to P&G in Geneva to talk to 150 staff about blogging; about what we do and why we do it. Brands are often so protected by their PRs that they never do get to hear the real story. Enough to say, P&G heard it then. Not such a highlight when my pre-speech diet coke revisited and I burped into the microphone. 
I went to Dublin to talk about face cream and got hideously lost in the airport on the way home, somehow managing to find myself in the luggage arrivals area and having to literally run all the way round the airport again to jump on my flight in the nick of time. I met the Irish press and bloggers and couldn’t have hoped to meet lovelier people. 
My trip to Boots in Nottingham was another highlight – I loved seeing the factory, I loved talking to the Boots beauty club who served pink lemonade and gave me some amazing products to trial. That trip too was where I had a hellishly diva moment and demanded the PR phone ahead to get someone to put straighteners on because my hair had gone into a frizz hell place and I just couldn’t present myself with fuzzball locks. With all credit to them, the lovely people at Boots did indeed have hot straighteners waiting. 
Going to Paris with Dior for a new product launch has to be probably my favourite ever trip. I was spoilt beyond belief, stayed in a hotel where while at dinner my pyjamas were arranged in a fashion pose on my bed, where my diet coke bottle had a little cork put in it to stay fresh and my book had a bookmark placed where I’d just finished reading. Charlotte, the PR, and I had dinner outside and watched models come and go to and from go-sees for Paris Fashion Week. It was at the John Galliano scandal time and Paris was buzzing with it. And it was where I was chased by a maid because I’d mistakenly wandered into the men’s loos instead of the ladies. 
I did a film for Garnier BB Cream with my lovely make-up artist friend, Kenneth Soh, and we had the best day in Carnaby Street doing real people BB make-overs, the worst moment of which was nipping to the loo in Liberty still wearing my sound equipment. That visit was recorded for all time. 
Another Paris trip, this time to the Thalgo spa, was amazing. My main memory is sitting in a hot tub of steamy, bubbly water, watching a scenic *relaxation* film with a seagull landing on a beach over and over again and feeling totally zonked out, just staring and staring at the film. And discovering my hotel room overlooked a Sephora store. Lucked out!

Pulling an all nighter at Selfridges while the new Jo Loves counter was built has to be one of the most memorable highlights. It’s an out-take moment because I didn’t blog it at the time, but when Charlotte and I went out to find teas and coffees at about 2am (eventually found some on the Edgeware Road) we were propositioned for bl*wj*bs, not once, but twice. I’m a lover, not a hater, but that was beyond the call of duty. When I got home somewhere near 6am, I staggered upstairs and said to Mr BBB, ‘I don’t know what to do.. I’m so tired I feel sick but I have to write up the………’ And fell asleep mid-sentence. Had 20 minutes kip before getting up again and writing the blog post. 
The Handpicked Media Get Social event was also an unexpected highlight; it was full of such enthusiasm that even the most jaded blogger couldn’t help but get re-infused with bloggy mojo, and it was fantastic to see so many younger bloggers just newly entering the beauty blogging arena and wanting to be successful. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught in cliques and forget that there are so many other people who want to be part of the blogging world. I did a talk about how bloggers and PRs communicate and how to rub along together nicely all the while with half an eye on a girl yawning her head off the whole way through. 
So, I think that’s it – I’ve probably forgotten some – but who knew what blogging could bring? I’m still battling with some brands and PRs that think blogging isn’t important, still dealing with negative attitudes from other industry insiders and still flying my little flag for bloggers to be properly recognised. Whatever next year holds for beauty blogging, if it’s anything like the year I’ve had, bring it on!

*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.