1:47 PM
Hi Everyone

The Queen Series is a weekly feature happening on Wednesdays. Each week one of us from The Digit-al Dozen will introduce you to our blog, tell you about how we got started, and talk a little about how we ended up being the Queen of something. We all have unique talents when it comes to nail art, and our Queen titles reflect that. Check out past posts in this series.

Name: Debbie from The Crumpet, (the Queen of Dottiness)
Twitter: @thecrumpet1
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thecrumpet/ 
Instagram: thecrumpet1

Today it's my turn mwahahaha.  For those of you who don't know me, I am Debbie aka The Crumpet and I've been blogging for 3 years now, and yes, it very nearly recently killed me.

By day I'm a a sales manager, and I love my job, but about 3 years ago (at my previous company), I started to get bored.  Seriously bored.  I've always assumed I would be a writer one day, and a lot of things combined at the right time and I ended up with a blog.  I didn't actually think it would be a NAIL blog, more of a "diary of a middle-aged crisis" I think, but a nail blog it became.

I imagine I must have already been aware of Scrangie by the time I picked the name for the blog.   When I got divorced, it became a joke that I should change my surname to Crumpet, and at work I was already doing a daily sales / motivational email called The Daily Crumpet, so "The Crumpet" seemed a logical name.

As I said, the blog came before the nails, but once the nails came, wow they came hard lol.  I blame Jo, a girl I worked with, for introducing me to OPI, and from there eBay for polish (I would never have thought of buying polish secondhand before; ugh) and then ... Google images ... I think that's where the downfall really began.

Polish has flitted in and out of my life. I remember adoring the red glamour of my mother's nubs on a rare night out, became obsessed with Urban Decay in my 20s, loved it again before I became a mother, went through a period of abstinence (I'm a mother, how on earth do you think I have time to do my nails!) and then, thanks to Jo, fell, finally, harder than ever before.

I accumulated quickly - outrageously quickly - and some of that is and will be featured in my Secrets of a Polishaholic series.   My current total is somewhere just south of 1000, but I know it's been higher.  I think you naturally go through a hoarder / collector phase before you realise "ain't nobody got space for this shit".  Nowadays I destash regularly and have a better grasp of what I like and what to buy.   I also have over 200 untrieds - sigh.

It took a long time for my blog to get momentum (as you can tell from those first couple of photos, I *definitely* lacked talent lol, although I didn't realise by how much at the time haha).   I think I'm unusual amongst bloggers for 2 reasons.  One, my blog is very writerly, and that brings people to it for different reasons.  Second, I run a LOT of Facebook groups, and I think that's where most of my loyal followers come from, those who got to know me through Crumpet's Nail Tarts or Adventures In Stamping or any of the other dozen groups I have or have had.

my 5th most popular blog post, but this had about 25k FB views and is my most pinned mani.

I don't think I have casual followers.  Based on comments I had when I took a break, and comments I invite in my Giveaways, my readers seem to come to me for a reason - whether the words, the MANY photos lol, or the frequent "look what a mess I made" posts.  Someone once commented that I didn't have model hands or swatches, that I seemed "real", like any reader, and I do think that's part of my appeal.  I am not perfect, and I am not a brilliant swatcher or nail artist, but I think I manage to string it enthusiastically together with the right words :)

The current situation with Facebook pisses me off.  Though my follower numbers are healthy, I think really only a fraction actively visit my blog.  Facebook doesn't help that lol.  Also, much as I love IG, it's not my natural home (no room for the words), and I have to force myself to use it.   I think in truth there's room for different types of posts on different mediums.

My most popular posts always surprise me.  It's an unwritten law of blogging that if you think a post is shit, your readers will love it, but if you think your nail art will ignite the world, only 2 people will view it (and neither will comment lol).   My most popular pieces are the writerly ones - my end of year round-ups, and the Lynnderella scandal pieces - and ANY Barry M post lol.  You all just can't seem to get enough of that.  

I do think people underestimate how much work and time goes into a blog.  Those of you who follow my blog will know I recently had to take a break to stave off blogger burnout.  I worked out last year that the hours I put into the blog are the equivalent of a second full-time job .... THAT'S why it's not sustainable long-term, and why finding a balance is so essential.  I've been very guilty in the past of posting too much, sometimes up to 3 times a day, and trying to be bigger, better, the most followed ... rather than just having fun.  So from an average of 25 hours a week, I'm trying to get it to healthier 15hrs rather than the 40 it was sometimes at.

In terms of planning, I use a variety of notebooks and planners - I always need to know what challenges I have coming up, as well as a place to note those random "just as you fall asleep" inspirations.

Why am I the Queen of Dottiness?  Other than because I am mad?  Well because if I am stuck for ideas, dots is what I invariably turn to.  Plus, after we had allocated all the titles, we realised no one had dots, and someone had to lol.  Before that I was the Queen of Splodging - my favourite manis are probably dots over splodged backgrounds.

I would very much describe my style as random.   Unlike certain DD colleagues I could name, I am not good enough to draw epic landscapes on my paws, so most of my manis tend to be explosions of colour and basic shapes and patterns - hopefully things most people can emulate.

I do wish I had more control over a nail art brush.  Seriously, Lindsey and Meghan piss me off so much.  I am sure they have access to super skinny brushes the rest of us can't get hold of.  Most things I try to draw tend to look like a 3 year old did them, and 3yr olds don't tend to be reliable blog followers.

You've seen my nail room before - HERE. It's messy, but it works for me lol.  Plus it's nice to have a whole room to run away to, with an ipod I can plug into.  Inspiration comes from many things, but mostly, it's "oh shit, what am I going to do for THAT theme" and then, in a great panic, I attack Google images.

My favourite DD themes are the looser ones, like monochrome or texture. When they're super specific, like books or countries, I tend to shudder, because I know that requires more art than patterns.  Regardless of how I feel though, there's no doubt those themes enhance my skills.  You find inspiration and you push through - almost invariably you end up with something you would never have tried before if bottling it had been an option.

So, back to the polish, then, and the infamous Desert Island Question.  Choosing favourites is sooooo hard, partly because I am fickle, and partly because those damn polishmakers keep releasing new polishes all the time!  If I had to take a stab at a Top 5, it would be - 

* a fabulous orange for happiness - probably RuPaulogize by Darling Diva

* a screaming pink, also for happiness - probably Bubble Yummo by Lilypad Lacquer

* a lilac, for tranquility - I'd like to say it would be Parlez Vous OPI, but I just know I would swap it out for OPI Planks A Lot at the last minute

* a vibrant red holo, for life - currently my fave is Rebel At Heart by Lilypad Lacquer

*  and an intense turquoise holo,for tranquility - Some Glad Morning by Literary Lacquers

I also ADORE Survivor by Cadillacquer, but if I'm on a desert island, ain't nobody got time for glittah!

As for brand, I'm not sure I have a favourite.  The biggest change in my polish love over the last year has been a total falling back in love with cremes and an utter boredom with glitter.  For those reasons OPI probably heads the list (Zoya is too expensive in the UK), and Barry M is as good a High St brand as you can ask for.   I also own a lot of KIKO - if you're looking to build a great library of cremes, I don't think you need to look further than those 3 brands.    Indie-wise, my favourites tend to be Literary Lacquers, Lilypad Lacquer, Darling Diva, Above The Curve, and then any number of others who I fall in and out of love with.  Currently I have a huge love affair for Delush and Indigo Bananas, but I find the indie world can be filled with one-night stands rather than ruby-marriages.

My top polish tip?   Moisturise.  And mositurise again.  Oh and again.  And helloooooo - again!   I have naturally dry skin, and if I don't do it 2 or 3 times a day, my fingers look like I tried to grate them.  Not great.

How do I feel when others "steal my work / ideas"?  Well, if I'm honest, that rarely happens.   As long as I am credited, I tend not to mind, and try to view it as free publicity.  I did fall out once with a UK e-tailer who removed my watermark and then used my swatches - remove my watermark and I might kill you, but as long as you credit me, I'm more likely to be a pussycat.  And because I'm not "A league", people don't tend to try and pass my ideas off as their own, so I don't really have to deal with that crap.

Trying to be original can be a struggle.  I see what Missy does sometimes and wonder where on EARTH she's gotten that inspiration from.   Me, I can get blinkered, especially if I am swatching for reviews, so I am trying to develop a more skittled mentality.   For me, the best inspiration is colours.  I tend to find if I group 5-10 polishes together on my desk, a million ideas will call out to me, whereas if I look at one lonely polish, all I see is one lonely swatch lol.

Blogwise, there's a lot that I'm proud of.  The last couple of years, it's provided a massive amount of my self-esteem.  Passing a million pageviews was a huge milestone, and one I'm very proud of, but I am trying to get away from being a numbers whore.   Other than that, the best feeling I ever got was from the depression pieces I did.  I try to be very open about my struggle with depression, because I do not think it is something people should be ashamed of, and the comments I got on those pieces moved me to tears.   And no, I never once imagined a ratty old nail blog would allow me to connect with people that way.  Other than that, hands down it's the friends I've made in this community.  They may live thousands of miles away, but I feel I know some of them better than family or lovers.  Some of us have been very very close for a long time, and I truly treasure those friendships.

In terms of my most popular NAIL ART posts, I was shocked when I looked!  THIS is your favourite ever lol, a Barry M camo skittle

.. followed by my Mr Men nail art

and my Spice Girls homage.

The final question is - which blogger inspires you, or who do you wish you could be?   For the longest time, that was Sarah of Chalkboard Nails.  From now on, my biggest challenge is to be ME and my own biggest inspiration, and the very best blogger I can be for ME.  Not for numbers or followers or any of that shit, but for me, and my passion and my joy.  If you'd like to, I'd love you to join me for the ride :)