avril-mc-donnell-a-paler-shade-of-beautyWelcome to the first instalment of 20 questions here on my new website. If you have read my previous blog you will be familiar with this feature but for those of you that are new readers of Glitz N Glamm I will explain what happens on this weekly feature. It’s quite simply just 20 quick questions with a different blogger each week. I feel that it is a fun and quick way of getting to know some of the talented writers in the blogging community. I have featured some of my favourite bloggers on the other Glitz N Glamm site and I hope to post them here soon as it would be a shame for my new readers not to get a chance to read the previous 20 questions posts.

To resume the popular feature, Avril Mc Donnell from A Paler Shade Of Beauty answered my 20 questions.

1. What is the name of your blog? 

My blog is called A Paler Shade Of Beauty. I set it up for people like myself who are going through or who have gone through physical or mental illness. It is also for anyone and everyone to read. My mantra is…even through illness beauty remains.

2. What topics do you cover?

I cover aspects of beauty, lifestyle, fashion, health and well-being. I also share my own personal story of living with illness. I hope to provide support and understanding with regards all aspects of physical and mental illness. I’m no expert but hopefully I can offer support and encouragement to someone who needs it. I also actively encourage the importance of having a few giggles and bringing smiles to people’s faces.

3. When and why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in June 2015. To be honest it kind of all just fell into place. I had been looking for some sort of outlet to help me whilst battling illness while also hoping to help others in the process. I have always had a passion for helping people especially people going through illness. I’m also a massive beauty junkie and always manage to wear my pink lipstick, yes even whilst being in hospital. A lot of fellow patients and hospital staff would comment on my sense of style, nails, what skincare and makeup I used etc and always asked me for advice. So all of that coming together gave me the confidence to start up my own blog. It felt right back then and still does now.

4. Who or what do you get inspiration from?

To be honest a lot of my followers inspire me. They are some of the strongest and nicest people I have ever come across. There is also a few fellow bloggers who have shared their own personal story with illness that really inspire me. I really admire genuine down to earth people who have fought through extremely challenging times in their lives and made a positive impact on other peoples lives. I love seeing people live their lives and achieve their goals. To see true passion in people is really beautiful.

5. What has been your biggest challenge since you started blogging?

I would have to say my illness. It’s been one hard battle with a lot of bumps along the way. One thing I do find challenging is dealing with the physical and mental fatigue which can really affect my ability to blog or post updates. My followers and various companies have been extremely kind and patient so it’s difficult when you don’t want to let anyone down. I take pride in my blog so sometimes I feel guilty if I can’t give it my all.

6. Who are your favourite bloggers and why?

The blogging world can be a funny sort of world sometimes. It’s full of so many different people with different interests and like all groups there will always be people you feel more drawn to than others. Some bloggers I particularly like for their open and honest approach are Susan (cherrysue doin’ the do), Karen (lovelygirliebits.com) and Grace (facesbygrace). I also find Ciara (food fashion and the fight) and Alison (passionsandpreening) extremely inspiring.

7. How do you find motivation and spare time to blog?

Spare time is not really an issue for me as I’m not working due to my illness. The majority of my time is spent either sleeping or resting. I’m knocked out the majority of the time but when I’m on treatment I’m even more zonked out. I know getting myself better comes first. After all the hopes and dreams I have for my blog needs a healthy Avril to try achieve them. My followers really motivate me. They know exactly what to say when I’m having a bad day. I always try remain as open and honest as I can be with them. This means sharing my good and bad days and everything else in between. I’m so passionate about my blog and what it stands for. Giving other’s a voice and making them see their inner beauty really helps keep the fire burning in my belly.

8. What are your hobbies, apart from blogging?

Right now I have none really. I’m not allowed exert myself at all whilst my immune system is so low so I would say I quite literally give my all to my blog. I do love everything beauty and fashion related and try to keep abreast and up to date with it all. I also have a keen interest in natural skincare and makeup from a personal and scientific point of view. I have to add I am actually a scientist so everything scientific and medical really interests me.

9. What is your biggest blog related pet peeve?

Dishonesty. Nothing annoys me more than bloggers who are untrustworthy about what they write and how they built up their following. I think it’s the sort of industry where people need to be fully transparent. I could never recommend something that I hadn’t tried out or felt beneficial. It’s those dishonest bloggers that have caused such controversy in the blogging world. It’s hard when you have met such wonderful bloggers who are both genuine and hardworking but see them get branded with the same brush. I’m extremely open and honest but that’s just the way I am. I don’t like drama and quite frankly haven’t got time for any of the sort so I treat people the way I like to be treated.

10. What are your favourite make up brands?

I have such a variety of products from different makeup brands. I use multiple brands at any one time as some brands have good and bad products in their ranges. I find Makeup Geek great for their highly pigmented and affordable eyeshadows, Becca for their beautiful long wearing blushers and highlighters, Colourpop for their lasting lipglosses, Anastasia Beverly Hills for their brow products. Rimmel and Flormar for their purse friendly mascaras, lipsticks and bronzing powders. I also have a stash of “good makeup” that I wear for special occasions as i wouldn’t be able to afford buying them for every day wear. These include makeup from YSL and Armani. I’m also really enjoying using Bellapierre natural makeup. It really stands up against some of the big cosmetic products on the market especially the mineral foundation and BB cream. It’s crazy just how many chemicals are in some makeup products that quite simply don’t not need to be there.

11. Do you have a pet?

I certainly do, he’s the love of my life well apart from the hubby of course. He’s a 7 year old Yorkshire terrier called Plec (short for plectrum) and has been there to lick away the tears when I cry, snuggle into me when I can’t get off the bed and to sit up on the very top of the couch so he can keep watch and protect me. I also think he makes a fantastic counsellor and even grunts at me when I talk to him. With him around I never feel alone.

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Hmm that’s a bit tricky. I do love Ireland. When the sun shines it’s so beautiful. I suppose if Ireland maintained a warm, bright and dry climate and of course the cost of living wasn’t so expensive then I’d be extremely happy to stay here. Don’t get me wrong there are some utterly breathtaking places in the world but as a nation Ireland is great.

13. What type of phone/camera do you use?

I have an iPhone 7 plus that I got on upgrade. My iPhone 5s died a death. I’m loving the quality of the camera in the iPhone plus the larger screen makes blogging a lot easier. I just use the camera on my iPhone to take pictures for my blog. I invested in a light box which disperses light extremely well but it’s limited in size as to what can fit into it. I would love a proper camera but I just can’t afford one at the minute.

14. Can you cook?

I certainly can. Junior certificate home economics taught me how to do that. I still haven’t been able to eat vegetarian lasagne since. I say I cooked it about forty times in preparation for the exam. I haven’t been cooking much lately as I get exhausted very easily so it’s my hubby who does the cooking. I’m so lucky as he is a great cook and he makes yummy cakes too.

15. If you could find one thing that you lost, what would it be?

My sanity, no I’m only kidding! I think it’s still relatively intact, well I hope it is… I can’t really think of anything in particular. I believe things happen for a reason but if I was to find something for someone else, it would have to be my Mums gold watch. It had fallen off her arm on Grafton street about 15 years ago. I had picked it out with my Dad in Switzers when I was about 6 and we gave it to her for Christmas. I know it had meant the world to her and no watch has ever lived up to it.

16. Night in or night out?

Dream – night out. Reality – night in. I would love to have the energy to get out more, go for yummy dinners with himself or cocktails with the girls but right now that’s not possible plus I’m not allowed drink whilst I’m on treatment. Hopefully when I get better I can truly live and experience different things again.

17. What have you coming up that we can look forward to seeing on your blog?

I’m really hoping to raise awareness for people like myself going through illness. I think patients well-being in hospitals is pretty much non existent. It is not the doctors or nurses fault it’s just the way the system is at the minute. I think my blog could be a fantastic outlet and could really be developed to reach more people. I’m constantly looking at ways to achieve this. I also have some exciting collaborations in the pipeline that I know my followers will love. I also have some more epic hampers to give away to make people smile.

18. Do you attend blogger events?

I try to, it all depends on my energy levels. I really do enjoy them especially meeting other bloggers and companies face to face. I also love getting involved in discussion or product testing. I’m a very visual and practical person so really like getting involved with products up close and finding out how they are developed.

19. What social media platforms can you be found on?

I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snap Chat. I would love if you popped over to say hello.

20. Lastly, what is your favourite thing about being a blogger?

Honestly the best thing is getting a message from somebody saying how much they enjoyed reading what I wrote or how my story resonated with them. I hope my blog continues to grow and hopefully I could make it my full time job. I’m also enjoying meeting some truly amazing people and hearing their own personal stories. I’m not going to lie it’s great trying out products too especially as i wouldn’t be able to afford to buy them all myself. I feel very blessed that companies kindly send me products to review and to give away in competitions.  Even though I do get sent products all my reviews are completely honest.