Friday, 27 May 2016

Loving Yourself #1 | Celebrating Your Own Achievements

The photo is me, in a beautiful place called Domboshava in Zimbabwe, where I was enjoying the view, and clearly loving life a lot!

I've been wanting to write posts of this nature for a long time now, so I thought I'd start a little series called 'loving yourself.' The name comes from a little joke a friend and I have, where we refer to simply having self-confidence as 'loving yourself' and it became a thing.

I think that this is such an important thing to talk about, mainly because - you are you. You were born looking like you do, you have a unique personality, quirks and interests. Wherever you go, whoever you're with, whatever you do, the only person you are with 100% of the time is yourself. So why not appreciate the good things about yourself, enjoy the good aspects of your personality, the little things you like about yourself? Why not love the body you have, dress it how you want, put makeup on the face you have, make yourself look exactly how you like it, no matter what you look like? Why not love yourself?

For this post, I want to focus on achievements. I feel like such an emphasis is placed on being humble, and there are so many negative words around such as 'bragging', 'self-centred', 'arrogant' etc. that people might not always give themselves the credit they deserve.

Celebrate the big achievements, for example

  • getting the exam results you needed or wanted
  • going travelling without parents
  • going to university
  • graduating university
  • getting your first job
  • getting a promotion or a better job

I often make blog posts about mine, such as graduating from university, or doing charity work abroad. But there are other things I've achieved that I will proudly declare now - the first one being getting into St. Andrews University in Scotland to do a master's course next year! I never expected I'd get in, and the university is number 3 in the newest league tables, right behind Oxford and Cambridge, which gives me a little excited flutter in my stomach every time I think about it. I also got into a very competitive teaching graduate scheme, which despite having to withdraw from after the first month, I still smashed that original interview and beat out a lot of other applicants for a place. If anything like this has happened for you, celebrate it! Be proud of it! Talk about it, shout about it! 

Another really important thing that often gets overlooked, are the little achievements in life. Those tiny things you find difficult. Those things that seem effortless for so many people, but it's a big deal to you. This could be anything, like

  • booking a doctors/dentist appointment
  • finally catching up on bills and paperwork
  • starting an assignment and it isn't the day before the deadline
  • tidying your bedroom
  • cleaning the house
  • taking the rubbish out

I'll give you an example from my personal life. I have an anxiety disorder (I've not really spoken about this on here, but I might do a post about it in the future) and celebrating little achievements really helps me a lot. So a few weeks ago, I needed to hand a spare set of keys into my estate agents, because they didn't have one. I had the keys in an envelope ready to go, but for some reason I was having an anxiety related block. I froze up every time my mum asked if I'd done it yet. 

I'm not sure why I found it so scary - I think it might have something to do with the layout of the estate agents office, the person in charge of lettings is at the very back and when you walk in, all the people at their desks are facing you and looking at you, and the closest one will ask if they can help, but you're still standing in front of everyone. A few days ago, I braved it, and just did it. This might seem like such an easy thing to anyone else, but to me, this was an achievement. I'm proud of that, and I'm not going to put it down or brush it to the side just because 'anyone else' would have done it without any problems. I then rewarded myself with a new lipstick from Superdrug, which was next door

I guess the message I'm trying to get across here, is that achievements can be different things for different people, and I strongly believe in being proud of yourself. Maybe every day, write down what you achieved, because there will always be something - even if it is just getting out of bed and getting dressed. 

In the comments below, write down one thing you've achieved recently!

Lots of love,
Susan




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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Beauty Wish List #2 | High End



As I am currently experiencing quite the lack of disposable cash, I am trying to give my lust for new, pretty and expensive beauty items an outlet by creating a wishlist instead. So here you have it - my high end beauty wishlist! I so wish this was a haul post instead

1. Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Yes, the simple, original chocolate bar. I feel like every single blogger already has this, and the current hype is all about the new ones, such as the bon bons one or the peachy one, but none of them appeal to me as much as this one does. Mark my words - one day, chocolate bar, you will be mine!

2. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation

My humble collection of high end makeup has been expanding, but I'm still yet to try a high end foundation. I've heard so many good things about this, and as my skin is not as angry with me as it used to be, touch wood, a lighter base like this is right up my street.

3. Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer

I'm quite new to the world of bronzers, but it hasn't escaped my notice that these ones are supposed to be one of the best. Plus, their shade range is great, so I'd even be able to find one for my pale skin!

4. MAC lipstick in Velvet Teddy

Everyone loves MAC lipsticks. So do I. And this is one of the most popular shades. Nevertheless, I've been really into nudes lately, and I have heard that Velvet Teddy is flattering on all skintones, and I really really want to jump on the bandwagon and try it. actually, I feel like most of my choices are very much 'jump on the bandwagon' choices, but I don't care

5. Zoeva Rose Golden Brush Set

The one in the picture is volume 2, but to be honest I would be over the moon with either of the rose gold brush sets. I've never tried anything from Zoeva, and these brushes are just the most gorgeous brushes I have ever set my eyes upon. Not that I've actually set my eyes upon them, because I don't have them. Ah well.

6. Too Faced 'Better Than Sex' Mascara

This is such a popular mascara, it must be good. Too Faced is an amazing brand, the packaging is pink so of course I love it, plus the name makes quite a bold claim. I have about a million mascaras on the go so I really don't need another, but is it really better than sex? I'd have to try it to find out...

Anyway, this rounds up my little high end wishlist - I feel like instead of wishlist, this blogpost should be entitled 'wishful thinking' instead.

Have you tried out any of these products? Which products are on your current wishlist?



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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Drugstore Beauty Haul | May 2016


After returning from Zimbabwe and not having been able to wear makeup for three months, I was craving a shopping trip. So when I visited friends in my old university city, it was time to hit Boots and Superdrug. There were some new launches that excited me, and I also picked up some drugstore classics that I've never tried before.

A product that pleases me greatly, and caught my eye straight away was the Rimmel Kate Moss Sculpting Palette. I got it in the shade 002 Coral Glow. My contouring skills are still beginner level at best, but this palette looks so pretty, and the bronzer shade is light enough that it might just work on my ghostly pale skin. Also from Rimmel, I picked up the Match Perfection Concealer - it's a highlighting concealer, apparently great for under the eyes, which is always what I need in my life. And because Rimmel was on 3 for 2, I couldn't resist the Only 1 Lipstick in the shade Naughty Nude.

 I've wanted to try the Revlon Colourstay foundation for a while now, as I've heard that it's a good cheaper alternative for NARS Sheer Glow. As it now comes with a pump (yay!) this was the ideal moment. It comes in two formulas, one for combination/oily skin and one for normal/dry skin - I chose the normal/dry skin option. Because I can't resist a good 3 for 2 offer, I also picked up the Revlon Photoready Cream Blush in the shade Pinched, and one of the new Ultra HD Matte Lip colours in the shade Devotion. Revlon lip products are amazing, and I think this will be a great spring/summer shade.

As I'm in the market for a more affordable primer, I got the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Fatigue Blur. I have quite a complex about my dark undereye circles, so anything that claims to be anti-fatigue is worth a go in my book. 

Then, lastly, because I own the biggest nail polish collection in the world and it has been my go to beauty item since the age of eleven, and I noticed that Barry M has brought out some new ones, I had to give the Coconut Infusion nail polishes a go. I chose two nice and summery shades, Laguna and Aloha - and they are meant to nourish the nails as well as paint them, so a base coat isn't needed.

That brings me to the end of my haul, and I feel like I shouldn't spend any more money on makeup in a long time!

Have you bought anything new and exciting from the drugstore recently? Let me know in the comments! so I can totally head back there for some more 'impulse buys' based on your recommendations

Lots of love,

Susan



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Monday, 2 May 2016

My Volunteering Experience in Zimbabwe









If anyone has noticed that things seem to have gone very quiet over on the blogging front - this is why.

At the beginning of October, my struggle with anxiety and mental health hit an all time low, and I ended up losing the job as a trainee teacher that I had worked so hard to get. I had to reevaluate my career plan - I ended up deciding to go back into education and apply for a taught master's course in Women/Gender Studies to start in 2016. I also, very spontaneously, applied for a programme that allows young people between the ages of 18 and 25 do charity work abroad for three months, all funded by UKaid. 

The process was so efficient, it felt like I zapped straight from my interview through to fundraising and meeting my team at pre-departure training and suddenly, on February the 2nd I was on a flight to Harare, Zimbabwe. We had another week of in-country training, before being paired up (one UK volunteer, and one local volunteer from Zimbabwe) and sent off to either a rural or urban placement, living in host homes, to raise awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights, and deliver training on livelihoods and life skills with both in and out of school youths. 

I could probably write about my experiences for pages and pages, and maybe I will at some point. It was not an easy experience, but I'm glad I did it. I was in a team with three lovely girls, and all four of us lived together in a host home. We got given an urban placement in a ghetto - a high density suburb just outside the capital city of Harare. The actual host home was probably my most discussed topic on the trip - it was horrendous. The family received an allowance for having us there, and clearly did not want us there for any other reason than that. We barely got fed, we were expected to do all the cooking and cleaning, and the host mother would shout at us, make degrading comments about us, and lie to us/about us for personal gain. I ended up losing 13 pounds while being away, all the clothes I went with were baggy on me. 

The host home was one of the many challenges I faced, others included the culture shock, you never think it'll be that bad until you actually do it. My anxiety got a lot worse. Living and working together with the same people is extremely tough, you will get sick of each other and you will fall out. Delivering sessions to sometimes hundreds of students at once can be terrifying, as well as planning and carrying out awareness campaigns. 

But I can't deny that this experience has given me new skills and a sense of resilience I may not have had otherwise. I made some friends for life - the programme was so tough that we all clung to each other for support. I'm a much more confident person, I feel like I can work with anyone and adapt to anything now, and I appreciate the little things like flushing toilets, hot water, and tap water you can drink.

The photos above represent some of the beautiful sights I did get to see - even though we spent most of our time working, we still were in Africa after all. I really would recommend travel and volunteering to anyone I know, and I hope I get opportunities such as this in the future. 

Now that I'm back online, I may go into some more depth about my trip, let me know if you'd be interested in that, and I'm also looking forward to getting back into the blogging swing of things.

Lots of love,

Susan






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