Thursday, 2 April 2015

Review: The Glam Guide by Fleur DeForce

I first discovered Fleur De Force (beauty blogger, Youtuber, dog owner and as of recently, author) circa 2012, when I was starting Fifth Year of secondary school and couldn’t wait to be out of there altogether and off to Uni. I trawled through Youtube videos in vain attempts to find out what University life was “really like” and how best I could prepare to get there (FYI: this is an impossible feat. Nothing can prepare you. More on that at a later date). One of the two most helpful and interesting videos I found was one Fleur had made with her friend entitled “Our Uni Experience”. I thought it was really down-to-earth and realistic: she assured viewers that University would not be the same for any two people, but that this was her personal perspective, and in fact she had decided to include her friend—who fortunately features in many other videos—because Fleur herself hadn’t had the best experience, and so she wanted to share a more positive story as well.

I lost touch with this for a year or so but had another look at the videos while I was beginning Sixth Year and going through—with alarming speed and efficiency, come on, hurry up with my reference, I want to get out of here—the process of UCAS. As the year became more and more stressful due to both academic and personal elements, of which I’ve learned I can only deal with one at a time, I kept coming back to Fleur’s videos. I’m not terribly interested in beauty or fashion, though of course it comes up in my daily life, but what I really began to enjoy were her Vlogs. I began to see the appeal of watching snapshots of another person’s life—much like reading a novel, “vlogs” can provide an escape from the mundane, the everyday and the stressful. It was quite fun to relax into watching her videos about decorating her house, preparing for her wedding, sometimes just having a regular day… and at just ten minutes or so each, I didn’t feel I was wasting valuable revision time.

While I watched a few videos from other content creators, Fleur’s were the only ones I really followed with interest and became addicted to. I’m not sure why exactly she appealed so much: perhaps her positive manner, how well-spoken she was, and yes, her rather idyllic home and family life. While we can all surmise her life must not be as perfect as all that, Fleur gives the viewer what they want: the positives. It’s the same when I write my blog posts: I don’t want to tell you all of my problems and you shouldn’t have to listen to them. I give you something that should cheer you up or make you laugh, rather than depress you.

That said, Fleur’s video “The Worst Day” where we watched her go through the loss of her dog, Woof, did make me burst into tears. That’s another beautiful thing about a vlog: we access a very personal part of someone’s life, and even the creators themselves won’t know what the vlog will be until it is finished. People like Fleur take a gamble whereby their videos could either be the most boring thing in the world, or the most personal, tear and joy filled, and dramatic.

Another thing that appeals about Fleur how perfect an example she is of the “Hermione Granger Effect”. It has become “cool” to be well-educated, intelligent and hardworking. Fleur’s University degree and enterprising spirit combined with a strong work ethic gave me both something to identify with and aspire to.

Which is why I bought her book.

I wasn’t really convinced by the ever-growing trend of Youtubers writing books, and I wouldn’t in a million years spend money on a book which boasted makeup tips and fashion advice. Not because I don’t like them—if someone handed me one I’d read it—but simply because I’d be more interested in books about British monarchs since 1066, and so forth. The reason I bought The Glam Guide was because I wanted to support Fleur and all the hard work she puts into such projects. At only £7 on Amazon, it was a bit of a bargain too!

When it arrived even my boyfriend, who I expected to scoff at it in favour of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany”, commented on how well-made it was. The cover was beautiful and the paperback included glossy pages each full of gorgeous illustrations and photographs. Content-wise, there was something for everyone in there, or at least every woman if not. The expected make-up, hair and travel tips took centre stage, and I was able to skim through them and pick out what was relevant. The chapters were a little short, but this did mean you could dip in and out of various sections whenever you liked. What I really enjoyed were the chapters at the end of the book about confidence and success—how to follow in Fleur’s footsteps and make your dreams come true. There were also smoothie and juice recipes and some advice on making relationships work in a healthy and caring way. Even if we may not always follow advice books such as these, the general public are suckers for them! What made The Glam Guide unique was that it did not give “Instructions” but accepted everyone as unique and suggested how this can be allowed to shine through.

Overall, I think that if someone else had written the book I might not have bought it, but I did enjoy it very much and it looks beautiful on my shelf. It’s a great one to flick through with friends and read in your coffee break. My enjoyment of this book also shows that in content creation such as blogging, YouTube and non-fiction writing, personality goes a long way!  

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