Before I start this blog post, I want to just set the scene of where I am as I write this. It’s a Thursday evening at around 9:30pm. I’m sat in my dressing gown and my mum’s leopard print slippers at the table in my garden. It is pitch black, I have a mug of apple juice for company and it is freezing cold. Why is this relevant I hear you ask? Because this is one of the many wacky ways in which I like to blog.
I’ve been interested in making videos and websites and sharing what I love with people from a very young age. In fact, the English language has played a huge part in my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always adored it. Even when I was really little, I used to love to recreate scenes from stories I was told or sing songs that I would make up all by myself about things I loved or about things that I would always do to make them a little bit more fun (‘I’m In The Bath’, anyone?) This passion for talking and singing and writing and performing grew and grew; so much so that in the end, I needed to find a way to share the things that I loved with a bigger audience. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to be on the stage or in movies if no one even knows who I am! More importantly though, I really wanted to make friends who were interested in the same things as me. I struggled to find friends who liked the same things as I did and even if they did like them, they didn’t like them as much as I did which meant it was basically a very passionate little Shaun shouting all the facts at the other children which wasn’t very fun for anyone.
When I was about eight years old, the whole hype for Piczo, a free website building site, started up at my primary school and I was instantly obsessed. I must have made about 30 different free websites over the two years that the hype lasted ranging from sites about TV shows that I liked to musicians that I liked (keeps your eyes peeled for a whole website dedicated to Girls Aloud, y’all…), musicals and pretty much everything else that happened in my life. My most popular Piczo, though, was one that I made when I was about nine. I can’t remember what it was called for the life of me but at the end of every day, I’d write what I did on there and keep it as a little diary. I must have kept up with that for about two months or so which, for a nine year old, is a pretty long time! After a while, the whole hype for Piczo died down and so did my burning passion to update the websites. My family was going through a really rough patch and I struggled to find the time with keeping up my websites (even though I knew that my dad was the only one who was sweet enough to give me views on them). I spent a while thinking about easy ways to get more people to notice me and to join my little community of things that I love.
(Update for you all: I’m now wearing some knee highs, a huge hooded Eskimo-esque puffer coat thing and am armed with a tray of Family Circle… Let’s continue.)
When I got to my secondary school, my oddness (I was truly odd in year seven, I can assure you) had already caused a stir so I took this opportunity to create some attention. People were talking about YouTube and even though I’d only ever used YouTube to listen to music, I thought that it was worth a shot of creating a community once again. I made a channel called ‘Shauny In Wonderland’ and from there I posted three videos of me being a bit odd. One included me dancing around to ‘One Short Day’ from Wicked, another was me sat in the corner of my bed wearing my Justin Bieber 3D movie purple glasses, and the other was me sat in my Grandma’s downstairs loo. I don’t even remember how many views the videos got but I knew a heck of a lot of people around school watched them. Many people gave me praise but upon reflection, I know that it was sarcasm.
I deleted the videos after feeling a bit ashamed (that must’ve been about three weeks after having made the channel) and I decided to let it rest for a while whilst I thought of a less embarrassing idea. I really hated the idea of people I knew personally knowing what I was doing online so I decided that I’d have to make something that only randomers on the internet could find. This is when I decided to take Shauny In Wonderland over to Blogger.
I don’t actually know if I’ve ever told anyone about my first ever blogger site. It was one of the default themes and I posted on it in exactly the same way I posted on my ‘Dear Diary’ Piczo site two years previously. Around this time, I truly began to discover YouTube. All of the people in my class loved to watch YouTube videos of people doing funny things and it took me a while to catch on. A girl in my class posted a video by Sam Pepper in our class Facebook group about a year and a half ago and I was totally hooked. From Sam I found people like Marcus Butler and Alfie Deyes and I began to really like this idea of watching loads and loads of these funny videos. But it didn’t feel quite right.
I closed my Blogger blog after a while because I decided that it was just a bit of a hassle. I kept watching YouTube videos but also began to find those a bit boring because they really weren’t what I was interested it. I found more fun in just watching random clips from musicals like I always had done on there as opposed to watching these random people talk for five minutes at a time.
But this all changed when I came across a girl that we all know and love. She was pretty, funny, adorable and silly and was totally what I was looking for in these videos. Zoella was my new love. And from finding Zoella, I found her beauty videos and began to fall in love with beauty. I also began to find more confidence in clothing which, at one point in my life, was the very least of my worries. From Zoella, I found Louise and Tanya and my passion for fashion and beauty grew and grew over a short period of a few months. By last October, I had managed to find about 60 different men and women that spoke about fashion and beauty that I loved. As much as I loved theatre, I knew that I was more likely to make an online beauty community than a theatre one. The problem was: how?
I researched how to create a blog and looked into how these people started and vowed to actually try and persevere this time. I made my main new year’s resolution simple: start a blog and YouTube. About two weeks into January, I did exactly that.
I decided to name them both a catchier version of my old username: Shaunyland. From there, I wrote my first blog post (a review of the Les Mis movie – keeping it musicals related) and I made my first video about me. At first, I was nervous about talking about fashion and I was even more nervous about even buying makeup. The first few months went really well and steady but I didn’t feel comfortable. I went for my first makeup haul in March (I bought a tonne of Miss Sporty stuff…) and I made a video on it. I continued to be nervous about it but I was happy with where it was going.
A few more months on and I’m finally totally comfortable with everything. I’m actually delighted with it. I love nothing more than making all my content and sharing it. I’m honestly so happy that I kept this up and I can’t even imagine looking back now. My mum’s now decided to come and join me in the garden and her talking is distracting me so that combined with this post being about 1500 words long, I think I’ll draw this to a close. Thank you to everyone who has helped to make Shaunyland what it is and I look forward to the future.