British beauty blogger and honey the poodle
Meet one of the U.K.'s most out-spoken, hardest working beauty bloggers and her bundle of joy!
Words: Simon Glazin Pictures: Richard Hanson
Type into Google the name of the latest beauty product, and you're likely to see Jane Cunningham, AKA Britshbeautyblogger.com, giving her tried and tested verdict. Follow her on Twitter and you'll see that she is nonstop, often posting up to five reviews a day. Check in with her on Instagram and you'll learn about her most recent collaboration - this year alone she has designed a palette for Makeup Revolution and created another one of her sell-out beauty boxes with Latest In Beauty, this time partnering with Aveda.
Her blog has been up and running since 2008, which explains the huge success she enjoys today. In 2015, it was viewed 4.5 million times. That's the same as the population of New Zealand. And her USP? Honesty. Jane is frank, to the point and has always maintained her blog is not about shifting product, but bringing to everyone's attention the exciting new launches and innovations the industry has to offer. There are hundreds of beauty blogs in the U.K. now, but very few live up to those rules.
Jane cut her teeth writing for national newspapers, strangely not beauty though; general features and travel pieces. It was when someone at The Express gave her the chance to write a beauty feature that she realised how much she loves it: "I’ve never enjoyed writing about anything as much as I do about beauty. It’s endlessly interesting, constantly changing and I am never lacking for subject matter." And voilà! Britishbeautyblogger.com was born.
Honey the poodle is now 12-years-old, but what struck me when we went to shoot them both was how full of life she is. Scroll down to hear about Jane's daily routine, and what she loves most about Honey.
"She definitely has a sense of humour and a cheekiness but mostly she is a very kind, quiet little dog."
On having a dog: I grew up in Scotland in rural environment - everyone had dogs; if not working dogs, then beloved pets. My parents always had dogs - at one time we had three dogs and four cats so animals have always been part of my life. For a long time I thought we couldn't have a dog because my husband is allergic but that's how we ended up with poodles - they don't shed their fur so people are far less likely to show allergies.
On puppy farming: I think if you have a connection with animals, it's inexplicable how cruel people can be. Puppy farms are purely a profit making venture and there is no respect or love for the dogs. They're bred in vast sheds with no comforts, so infections are rife and these are dogs who know absolutely nothing about affection or human interaction. Imagine a supposedly domestic animal who doesn't know the sound of a light-switch, a kettle boiling or footfall on a carpet and is terrified of every single thing around them because it's so far out of their knowledge of life. They're very difficult dogs to adopt and take a very long time and huge effort and patience to turn around but I think there is something rather incredible about people who do just pour love into these creatures and let them be part of a family environment. When I stop work, rehabilitating puppy farm dogs so they can go to families who want a dog is something I really want to do. I'm fascinated by dog behaviour (and have educated myself on the subject) and abhor any kind of animal cruelty.
On the perfect puppy beauty collaboration: It would have to be MAC Pretty Poodles!
On her daily routine: I get up at 6.45 and make a cup of tea and put the news on the TV. Honey sleeps on my bed (my other dog, Coco, died last year, and they were never allowed to sleep upstairs but since it happened, we really don't keep rules.. Honey can do as she likes) usually - or wanders back down into the kitchen where it's cooler. We head off for a walk on Blackheath or Greenwich Park at around 7.30 and have an hour out of the house. Even at 12, Honey loves chasing balls or toys so I do a lot of throwing but I notice that she is slowing down and sleeps much more than she used to. Sometimes I walk with friends but Greenwich Park is very friendly.. it's rare that I won't see someone I know to say hi to. My days are so varied that there isn't a routine as such - if I go out and it's longer than about 4 hours, I get someone to come in and keep Honey company. I always leave the TV on for her (she isn't allowed Jeremy Kyle though!). Very occasionally, I take her with me to a meeting (especially if it's at Fenwick because they are happy to host dogs there) if I think she needs to do something different. Now she's older though, she is very chilled out and happiest in her own environment.
On a career in blogging, and her plan B: Write about what you love - I would say write about what you know but part of the joy of a blog is learning so find a topic that you feel is in your DNA. Then, you'll never get bored! There was no plan B. Actually, plan A wasn't a plan either.. it just happened!
On a favourite Honey moment: Dogs don't really have facial expressions as such, but when she was a very new puppy, I heard a horse clopping down the street so I took her to the door to have a look. When it went past, her jaw literally dropped - she just couldn't believe what she was seeing! She definitely has a sense of humour and a cheekiness but mostly she is a very kind, quiet little dog.
On what breed of dog she would be: I would be any dog with a kind owner because so many dogs don't even have that basic right.
Jane lives in south London with her husband, two children and dog Honey.
Shop Jane's favourites here...