Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My New Year's Resolution: Reduce Stress

Hey guys!

I usually never make New Year's resolutions. I never saw the point - if I wanted to try something new or change something in my life, there's no need to wait until the new year to start. I didn't believe in the 'New Year, New Me' thing that so many do. The only thing that changed is a different number at the end of the date, if I hadn't changed myself or my lifestyle before, I highly doubted that I'd stick to any resolutions I made.

But this year, I do have one thing that I really need to change, and that is to stop worrying, and keep my stress levels under control. I've already started working on this, but seeing as we're bringing in the New Year very soon, I thought it would be a good idea to document it and share some tips.

Being in the final year of my degree has taken it's toll on me. At the end of last semester at University, I found myself in a constant stressed state, mentally and physically exhausted, an emotional wreck, and my anxiety was at an all time high. And all of this, for almost absolutely no reason. Final year is supposed to be tough, but I plan and organise well, always staying on top of things. I already have an amazing job to look forward to for when I finish. My grades haven't been dropping, if anything I've been doing even better than before. I have nothing to worry about. So why do I put myself through all of this stress? 

I've gotten myself into a vicious cycle, which if anything, is counterproductive and makes my life more difficult for myself. The only problems I have, have been created by me. I want everything to be perfect, but the constant state of stress I find myself in hinders this anyway. So for 2015, which will include my last few months of my degree, also my last few months of being in full time education, I'm going to try and reduce this stress. I've got a few things that I want to try, and I thought it might be helpful to share them with you.

1. Look after my body

I'm the worst person for this. If I have a lot going on in my life, things like a balanced diet or eating at normal times of the day are the first to go. This ends up with my body not functioning properly, which means my brain won't function properly, which isn't what I want at all. I'm going to start making sure I always eat as well as I can, exercise enough (I joined the uni gym in September and actually went quite a lot, but then I got injured which stopped me from going for ages) take the vitamin supplements I need, find a good skincare routine and stick with it, and my body will be happy - this will hopefully make my mind happy as well!

2. Plan and organise 

I already do this quite a lot, but it's something I definitely need to keep on doing, especially with my teaching career after uni. I'll use my diary religiously. I need to remember to write everything down - even if I don't think it will, writing things down always helps sort things out inside my head. I'll make lists, sub-lists, smaller lists, shopping lists, lists of meals I'm going to have, everything. If it's all sorted out on paper, hopefully I'll feel more calm. 

3. Have relaxation time

I'll doing well enough, especially with the epic organisation and list making (see above) and my healthy balanced diet (also see above) to be able to afford some 'me time.' Everybody needs to relax, and even when I haven't been working on uni assignments, I haven't felt like I've relaxed properly in months and months. If I'm not doing uni work, I'll be thinking, worrying and working myself up about it. I can have a few hours a day to myself, to do things I like such as playing the sims or updating my blog, and the world will not end. If anything, I'll be happier. 

4. Put myself first

This is another thing I'm awful at. I care about other people's feelings too much, often putting them before my own. I need to remember that it's okay not to go on a night out if I know it'll just make me tired and stressed. It's okay to sit in my room by myself even if my housemates are chatting in the living room if I feel like I need some alone time. It's okay to miss a few choir rehearsals, even though I haven't been in ages and haven't seen my choir friends in a while. I can say 'no' to things if I don't want to do them. I can leave early from pub trips or nights out if I'm feeling tired. It's the final hurdle of my degree, I need to focus on putting myself first.

5. Sit back and chill out

I haven't been able to call myself a laid back person at all in the last few months, but I really wish I was a bit more laid back. I know there's a fine line and people who don't worry about anything at all stress me out because they must get nothing done, but a lot of laid back people get just as much done, they just worry about it all less. I just need to work at my own pace, not worry about what everyone else is doing, make sure I do what I need to do, and chill out. 

So, that was my very long and rambly New Year's resolution, with five subcategories and mini-resolutions (seriously, congratulations if you made it to the end!). Do you have any resolutions this year, and how do you guys cope with stress?


Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Current Drugstore Lip Favourites

I have really been loving lip products lately, to the point where I rarely leave the house without something on my lips. I used to be a nude shades only kind of girl, but becoming a bit more daring with colours has now turned me into a lip-addict! 

So here are some of my current drugstore favourites - being a university student, my budget doesn't stretch to high end products, and I'm left drooling over my laptop while reading other bloggers' reviews on them instead. 

I settled on these in my wild search for something that would give my lips some colour without drying them out, as lipsticks tend to do in the winter months. I have the shade Candy Apple, which apart from the cute name also looks absolutely gorgeous! It's very easy to apply, though I wouldn't say it was as easy as a lip balm. It's more like a happy medium between a lipstick and a lip balm, which I definitely would recommend. The packaging is also a plus, it's pretty, and easy to tell which colour it is without having to rummage through my make-up bag too much. 

My boldest, most adventurous lip colours are from the Rimmel Kate Moss collection. I have shade 01, which is a lovely, deep red, and shade 20 which is a bright fuchsia. For the price of £5.49 each, they are amazing quality. They're so pigmented and last for quite a while too, I've been extremely happy with these and will definitely look at some more colours in the future.

I had never tried a lip lacquer before this product. Not a lipstick nor a lip gloss, it was a bit of a mystery to me. But after purchasing the Rimmel Apocalips in the shade Celestial, which is a pinky nude 'my lips but better' shade, I'm a fan. It takes some precision to apply and I like to let mine dry a little before I do anything, but once it's on it looks amazing and lasts for ages! The shade I have is perfect for everyday wear, too.

What are some of your favourite lip products at the moment?


Friday, 28 November 2014

Mockingjay - Part 1

I'm usually late to the party when it comes to films, always catching them right before they leave the cinemas, or ending up having to wait until they're available on DVD (cough cough, Inbetweeners 2). But for my eternal love, The Hunger Games, I had to make an exception. I'm obsessed with it, I even decided to write my undergraduate dissertation on the genre, dedicating an entire chapter to the series. So this time, I pre-booked tickets to see Mockingjay on the day it was released here in the UK!

We actually had some technical trouble viewing the film at first, the opening screen went blurry, and it was restarted. I panicked inside. The other people were loud as well, so I was concerned that either it wouldn't play at all, or it'd be ruined for me by the noisy people around me. Nevertheless, it played the second time around, and from the very first second everyone was silent, and glued to the screen.

I had done my nails for the occasion, using ommorphiabeautybar's tutorial here to recreate the nails Katniss had in the arena in the first book. I used 'Smoke and Ashes', 'Riveting' and 'Electrify', all from the China Glaze Hunger Games collection.

I know my nails don't look perfect, I'm still learning how to apply nail polish without making mistakes somewhere along the line. The glitter did catch the light beautifully though, and for a first attempt, I was pleased with the result.

This was also my first opportunity to wear my Mockingjay necklace out of the house - it's only been used decoratively since picking it up at Camden market during my London visit over the summer.

All of this preparation and excitement was so worth it, because the film was incredible. It was a lot darker and more tense than the previous two (not that The Hunger Games was ever lighthearted!) and even though I've read the book multiple times, I found myself feeling nervous at certain parts in the cinema. I love the way the film manages to tell the story without it being from Katniss's perhaps limited point of view. We get to see what she is going through, but we also get some background knowledge and scenes that don't necessarily include Katniss.

The focus on the 'love story' aspect of The Hunger Games was near to none, which made me happy. There are so many things happening in their lives, the future of their entire society is unclear, they have much more important things to think about than romantic partners. Obviously, the connection between Katniss and Peeta is real, and it was portrayed excellently. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson outdid themselves and brought that tough storyline to life.

I loved the small moments of comedy, that allowed the audience to laugh and momentarily be distracted from the dark storyline. The return of Effie Trinket, as well as Prim's beloved cat Buttercup made the film for me.

On one hand, I'm so happy that Mockingjay is being done in two parts because I have the second half to look forward to, but on the other hand I need to know what happens!

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