So I was in a TV advert…

In February I started appearing in a national TV advert for Garnier alongside Fearne Cotton. As a working mum who just blogs part-time as a hobby this was quite a change in direction for me. I’m not one of those bloggers who gets sent lots of free stuff, in fact I dont attend press days or often get featured by brands but now I can say I’ve acheived a bit of a dream…I’ve been part of a huge advertising campaign. 

But how did this happen? Gosh, where should I start…

So this is me – Sarah face of shade 6.60. I am here representing the 40plus woman and anyone who fancies going a vivid red colour plus hopefully providing a relatable female image in a beauty advert – something that is sometimes lacking in beauty advertising.

I was first approached by Garnier after blogging about trying the dye for the first time as part of the Fearne Cotton fronted #TheOliaEffect campaign where you could enter a photo of your newly coloured hair to win a spending spree.  

This was my photo (find my blog on the home dye here) I shared. I thought the product was good and was pleased with the way my hair had turned out so thought, why not?!?


Needless to say I didnt win. But a month or so later I got an email asking if I would be interested in talking to them about my experiences with the brand. Ah, the power of an Instagram hashtag!!!

Long story short, after a few meetings (which I thought were for market research) then a Skype interview with the ads director in LA (get me!) I was asked if I wanted to take part in a campaign featuring ‘real women’ talking about their own experiences with their hair and using a home dye.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I love being the centre of attention (I’m always up first for Karaoke and love doing shows, presentations and interviews) so I couldn’t say YES fast enough!!!

Getting ready – lets just say making an advert is hard work! There was wardrobe fittings (you have get used to standing there in your underwear really quickly!), having my hair cut (always nerve wracking…what if they want to do a pixie cut?) and then a day of filming. Filming the advert was a really long day in London but I did have a chaffeur driven car pick me up and drop me home which felt pretty special. I had a call sheet and a look book but the rest was going to have to be all me. No script, no prepping or rehearsing – the idea was to capture real thoughts and feelings…quite daunting when you know its going to be used for a national TV campaign.

For those wondering, YES I dye my own hair at home with Olia but I was lucky enough to get it cut and styled for the ad by celebrity hairdresser Michael Douglas. He is just like he is on the TV – great fun, really down to earth and an absolute genius with hair!  My hair will probably never look this good again but at least I have the photos for evidence!!!

Shooting – nothing prepares you for walking on to film set knowing you are about to get filmed for national TV and knowing you have one chance to get it right. Its sounds silly but you really dont realise how many people it takes to make an advert. You are surrounded by people fussing over you, noise, distractions and lots of crew doing technical stuff – but ultimately once they shout “rolling” its just you and the camera. But I loved my time in the spotlight and would love to do more of it….and judging by how much I’m in the full advert I think I did pretty well!

And then theres the official ‘Sarah’ shot – this was my press shot and the one that is currently EVERYWHERE! Its so strange looking at is as I know its me but its the Garnier version of me…but what a hair colour, I really dont think I will ever change from this colour now. I was made to feel really special on the day, styled and pampered which is a wonderful feeling.  

Meeting Fearne – As you probably know Fearne is the Garnier Olia ambassador and is central to the advert. What you might not know, is as part of the advert they filmed a whole surprise section with her and me! I’m not sure if they will use the interview but it was great fun and although I was a bit shocked it was lovely chatting to her and talking hair, families and about the day.  Much of the prep for this can be seen in the Estee Lalonde behind the scenes film (find the link at the bottom of this blog) if you want to see me getting surprised by the person that inspired me to use Olia in the first place.

With the rest of the Garnier Olia ladies – obviously this is my account of making the advert but the campaign features quite a few different women aged from their 20’s to their 60’s. Some are in the TV advert and some are in the online campaign but here we all are post filming with all our fabulous coloured hair. It will always be a very special memory for me.

Filming with Estee Lalonde – Estee filmed a behind the scenes vlog and captured loads of what was going on. She also filmed Fearnes surprise meeting with me which is lovely as I was so full of adrenaline I can hardly remember it! I have Estee’s book, ‘Bloom’ so it was lovely to meet her and chat, be interviewed and generally hang out with such a successful style blogger.

The final Ad: online and television – and then theres the finished product.  I didnt know how much I’d be in the final advert but was thrilled with how much they used me…in fact I’m in it almost as much as Fearne. Plus I now have a catchphrase for life – “Look at my hair everyone!”


See the full ad here
See my film here
See Estees behind the scenes video here

I’m so proud to be representing the 40 plus woman in these ads. Not as a model, not as an actress, just as me! It would be great to see more ‘real women’ (and men) in ads and I hope other brands follow Garniers lead…

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Skin Chemists Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser

As you may know I am a Skin Chemists ambassador and I love to try their new (and always innovative) products. The first product I ever tried from their brand was their Advanced Snail Eye Serum (find the original blog here) and although initially I was a little squeamish about using a beauty product with snail secretions in it, I was really impressed with its effects.

This month I am trying another product from the snail range – Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser.

Skin Chemists says Snail Duo Moisturiser is formulated using a range of regenerating and nourishing actives to help repair the skin from daily damage, whilst protecting against future environmental stress and leaving a mattified finish.  The main active ingredients include:

Snail Secretion – derived from the natural defensive liquid secreted by snails aims to delay premature ageing of the skin, whilst reducing visible age spots and providing protection from free radical damage.

Tiare Flower Extract is combined with light and silky coconut oil, working to hydrate, repair, soothe and purify the skin.

Vitamin E Acetate aims to leave the skin moisturised, whilst providing further protection against skin damage from environmental aggressors.

Creatine works to imitate an amino acid found naturally within the skin, it aims to revitalise cell energy metabolism, whilst hydrating and protecting the skin.

It’s worth doing a patch test if youre concerned you might be allergic to any of these ingredients. I did notice a very slight tingling feeling when I first started using it and although I didn’t have any type of reaction, I feel if someone had more sensitive skin it might be worth it.

Also if youre a bit worried about the whole ‘how do you get this from a snail’ part (which is quite understandable) be assured Skin Chemists are a cruelty free company and only use sustainable methods to extract snail secretion at no harm to the snail. Afterwards the snail is returned healthy to its breeding place – yay!


This product is easy to use in its pump action dispenser and smooths over the skin effortlessly, leaving a slight tackiness that sets quickly – you can even put make-up on over the top too if you use it in the morning which is great. On first use, what I noticed most was how a small amount plumped my skin almost immediately with a slight tingling feeling and after a few weeks of use my skin feels firmer, fine lines seem less and my skins imperfections have been reduced without making my skin greasy.  

Marble effect trays / H&M Home
Sunglasses / Depop
Sunglasses case /Primark
Earrings /Dorothy Perkins
Brooch / New Look
Eye Shadow / L’oreal

All in all this is another great product from Skin Chemists – I will be using the Duo Moisturiser with the Advanced Snail Eye Serum for a maximised effect and hope the reducing of my fine lines will continue! Oh and for anyone worrying it smells lovely too… 

Buy Advanced Snail Duo Moisturiser here.

Truly innovative products are rarely cheap, with this product retailing at £99.90, but Skin Chemists have been incredibly generous in giving readers of my blog the code SARAH1 for a whopping 80% off (making it just £19.99) throughout May.   Give it a go…what have you got to lose?

*I was gifted this product but all views stated are my own. For more information please see my disclaimer section.

The thing I fell in love with this week

H&M ❤ Coachella star earrings / £6.99

I love stars. Simple as. Oh and I love H&M. So when I saw these earring I just had to have them!  Statement earrings are back in fashion and these chandelier style earring definitely do that. They are lightweight and have a mix of black, glittery midnight blue and lilac in them which pretty much works with most outfits.

H&m coachella star earring Always a Blue Sky Girl fashion blog BlueSkyGirl Sarah Gorlov
And finally the price – at only £6.99 they are an absolutely bargain. I have worn mine with my simplest outfits and they really take the outfit to another level. Grab a pair now before they sell out! 

Available in store now – £6.99
 

Me, my mental health and I…

Ostensibly this is a style blog – something to help you look and feel good, but in my experience neither is possible if you are not mentally healthy.  This week is Mental Health week, an awareness week supporting people to open up about mental health, fight some of the stigmas associated with talking about mental health problems and to seek help if it is required. This years theme is to ask ourselves if we are ‘Surviving or Thriving?’ and seeing that a mental health problem will affect 1 in 5 of us in our lifetime, this week seemed a good week to share a personal essay about my own journey with my mental health…

I was always a happy child but an anxious one – I was the oldest and an overachiever from the minute I could talk. I think anxiety is born into you – maybe even an inherited trait, as I remember worrying about lots of things as a child and already having a sense of wanting to be perfect. Nowadays theres is lots of talk about safeguarding children’s mental health but in the 70’s and 80’s that kind of thing was practically non-existent, however there was also not as much pressure on kids at an early age like there is now. For some reason though I put pressure on myself. I remember getting ‘nerves’ and being ill when worried (about a big event or test for example), getting headaches, being sick or having stomach problems – all classic signs of an anxiety disorder. By the time I was a teenager and was at a high pressure girls-only grammar school, this anxiety was exhibiting almost every day. Did I get help? God no, I just hid it…I hid it really, really well and so began a pattern of behavior that I followed for most of the rest of my adult life.

Hiding a mental illness is not uncommon. Why do we do it? Well mainly its the stigma of saying you are ill, but not properly ill, just ill in the head. This is a totally ridiculous view of course but this is how you feel – people tell you to ‘pull yourself together’ or imply you’re making a fuss about nothing. Feelings of shame overwhelmed me and I became very good at hiding my issues. By the time I was 16 eating disorders were common at my all girls school and something that the girls there encouraged each other to have. Having already developed an unhealthy relationship with food I was overweight so opted for Bulimia – it really was that simple.  I first foray into a proper mental illness – I crashed dieted then binged and purged… I lost weight and everyone praised me and told me how good I looked. It was a strange irony, I was ill on the inside but deemed as looking great on the outside. My periods stopped, the enamel started to come off my back teeth, I had a scar in my hand from making myself sick and when my parents at their wit’s end called out the doctor and I started to realise I couldn’t live like this – I was eating ice cream for breakfast and then not drinking a Diet Tango because it had 3kcals in it rather than Diet Cokes 1kcal.  Ultimately as a form of self-preservation I came to my senses and stopped the purging…it really is the most awful, destructive, disgusting illness but my issues with not feeling good enough, being anxious and my warped self-image never really went away.

After I left school I started working as a window dresser in London in a creative whirlwind of fun, partying and no real responsibilities. It was the early 90’s and we were fuelled by alcohol, ecstasy and the energy of youth. Ironically even with all this hedonism they were some of the happiest and least anxious years of my life – but then earning decent money and living at home, real life hadn’t really begun for me yet…its like I was playing at being a grown-up, but we all know those days cannot last. And they didn’t – by the time I was 21 life suddenly got very dark.

When I had my first panic attack I honestly thought I was dying. I had experienced the sudden death of someone very close to me and was deep in the confusion of grief, loss and utter devastation. There was help around me – my worried parents paid for private counselling, my GP offered me Prozac and Valium and friends rallied round me but I just wasnt ready to help myself. As I limped out of this terrible experience my anxiety gripped hold of me as it did again 3 years later when my father died suddenly and I headed through my 20’s and then into my 30’s suffering from different types of anxiety disorders. My reliance on food as a comfort continued too and my weight ballooned leaving me morbidly obese by the time I was 30. My mental health was all over the place – I gained and lost the same 3 stone at least 3 times each time not being able to keep myself on a steady path. I also became better and better at hiding the cracks in my mental health – I was always bubbly and confident, well presented, I held down a good job, was in a long-term relationship and created a beautiful home but on the inside I was fighting myself…and my panic all the time.

At 33 I had my son.  I desperately wanted a child and when he was born he was just perfect and I instantly fell in love. I was lucky, unlike many other mothers I didn’t suffer from post natal depression and recovered quickly from the birth. Having my son made me, probably for the first time in my life, put someone else first. He changed everything, because although I still worried (mainly about him) I couldn’t focus on myself all the time, over-thinking and obsessing, and slowly my anxiety started to dissipate. Back at work full-time with my husband staying home to look after our son I decided I wanted to start to take the control back in my life. Within a year or so, I had achieved everything I set out to do but something didn’t feel right and my old enemy, anxiety started to rear its ugly head again. Migraines, sudden sickness and panic attacks become a regular occurrence but you would never of known it. I knew in the back of my mind what was wrong but decided it was better to ignore it. It’s amazing how long you can ignore your own problems but ultimately in the end you realise it is killing you slowly and by the end of my thirties I realised I was wasting my life – I felt like a zombie. After much soul-searching, in quick succession I left my husband (it had been an unhappy and unhealthy relationship for some time), I took redundancy from my senior creative role and sold my house, downsizing my lifestyle considerably. I totally changed my life.


As I entered the most stressful stage of my life I had experienced so far, at the beginning panic gripped me everyday but I fought it and the mere fact I was creating positive change made it easier and easier to control. I removed toxic people from my life, simplified how I lived and I started exercising at the age of 40. Exercising has completely changed my mental health. Gone are the panic attacks, I still get anxious about things, sure, but exercising seems to quell my demons, helps me think and fills me with endorphins. After building up my fitness using the app C25K I now run 5k three times a week every week. I have a very loving, supportive new partner, a great work/life balance and finally the understanding that I must be proactive and responsible for my own mental health. No-one else can do this for me – I wanted to change my life so I did. It wasnt easy but it was worth it. 

I now know the warning signs when things are getting too much and I speak freely to the people around me about how I am feeling. If I’m getting stressed I tell my loved ones and seek their support. I refuse to be ashamed anymore – my anxiety disorder is just as much part of me as my green eyes are, but I will not let it own me. I control my life, I control my health and I control my happiness. I have made a conscious choice to be happy and I can say I am happy in my life now – truly happy.  However there is no real end to this story – I will live with my anxieties in some shape or form for the rest of my life but I will not be beaten by them.

Find more about Mental Health week here and find links to my other blogs on my mental health below, I hope you find some things in them that are useful –

My weight
My self esteem
Exercise
Being called ‘fat’

If you need help speak to someone – a friend, family member, your doctor or call one of the many helplines available. You are not alone.

THAT Next Peasant Top…

You might remember me saying I had treated myself to the Instafamous red Next peasant top as part of my birthday spending last month. I had seen this top on A LOT of bloggers and had fallen in love with it knowing it would be a great summer staple but also something that was a bit different from my other summer tops.

Now we all know seeing something on Instagram and wearing it in real life are two very different things. For a start I do not have the body of a typical Instafamous blogger type – I am over 40,  5’2″ and curvy so not all ‘it’ items work for me…in fact many dont 🙈.

So what did I think? Well I really like this top.  It is priced at £40 and well worth it in my opinion – it’s great quality (a thick, quite boxy, cotton) with lots of embroidery and a tassel tie collar.  The red is REALLY red and it looks great with denim (and hopefully a tan when I finally get one!).

Next red peasant blouse top Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie Always a Blue Sky Girl fashion blog blogger
A word of warning though – it is quite short in the body. I think it was designed to skim over the waistline, or be tucked in and for someone my height it hangs longer to my hips which works for me. But if you are taller you might want to size up.  The sleeves are also designed to be slightly shorter – a bracelet length but with them being bell shaped I think that looks ok.

This top comes in sizes S – XL and I went for a medium. It’s loose but not too baggy on me and has that bit of extra length to it.

Next red peasant top blouse Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie Always a Blue Sky Girl fashion blog blogger

Ultimately though, this top is all about the sleeves…the embroidery is really nicely done and you feel like this could be a designer top.  Its material has weight to it and the tassels are heavy making it feel very authentic.


For todays post I co-ordinated it with this bargain Primark sandals and bag combo  – the sandals are just £4 and I recently grabbed this red pair and a denim version in store. They are really comfortable with an elasticated back and wrap over fabric front. The cross body bag is just £7 and looks much more expensive – I love the navy and red strapping. Its a good size too if youre like me and carry far too much stuff with you!

Primark red £4 sandals Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie Always a Blue Sky Girl fashion blog blogger

Primark saddle bag and red sandals Sarah Gorlov blueskygirlie Always a Blue Sky Girl fashion blog bloggerTop –  Next – available here.
Jeans – Very.co.uk
Sunglasses/Sandals/Bag – Primark

Oh and if you REALLY love this blouse but red is not your thing – it comes in blue too!


Youre welcome 😉