Archive: July 2018

I'm Learning that it's Okay not to be Perfect
I'm scrolling down Twitter and I see blog posts being promoted "tips to stop overthinking", "how to stress less", "why you shouldn't let stress ruin your day" and it frustrates me. I'm an overthinker, I'm a stress head, it's who I've always been and I don't really think any of these posts will ever help me stress less. The intention is good, the content is great and perhaps it could help someone else, but for me, my stress is too deep-rooted, it's in my genes and it's who I have always been. For me, my overthinking, my stress head personality is not something that I think I can learn not to be, it's something I actively have to choose not to be and I am choosing not to be it anymore. I am tired of being this way, of constantly over thinking every little thing in life and being a constant pain in my own butt. 

This past year I have found myself being worse than usual. I started my masters degree and I've had my eyes set on distinction and have refused to let that go. I have stressed over every essay, cried in the lead up to hand in dates, I have over thought every single little element, made myself work non-stop to live up to my own expectations and it's gotten to the point where my dissertation is due in 3 weeks from now and I'm thinking "why have I done this?" I found myself unmotivated by dissertation and forcing my way through it for at least a month there because I had spent the past 11 months stressed and upset and working my butt off, it just became too much, I needed a break, but I couldn't take one if I wanted that distinction. The thing is, do I need distinction? Does it mean I have better job prospects? Does distinction affect my life in any way shape or form after I have received my diploma at graduation? The answer to all of the above is no. It's hard to accept that to accept that I've worked my butt off for well... nothing really, but it's true. People don't ask what you graduated with for jobs or in life, it's just something you can say and most people don't say what they graduated with anyway for fear of looking pompous. 

All I need is a 70 in my dissertation to get a distinction, but even thinking that send my head into a spin, I worry about how good my chapters are, is my spelling great, does it flow properly, have I justified my study and so on and so forth. It has gotten to the point where I dream about dissertation and I dream about failing, which I won't do because I mean even if I don't get that 70 then I'll still get a good enough grade for merit but I still worry, I stress out and over-think. It's how I have always been but seeing the extent of how much my over-thinking and stress has affected how I function on an everyday basis and my motivation towards doing the work I just have to remove myself from the situation, step back and realise enough is enough. I am fed up with being this way, of stressing myself out because that's what it is. There is no one breathing down my neck telling me I have to do this or be that, it's just me which makes it 1000x worse because I can stop it if I just stop over-thinking. 

But, that's hard to do. I hate when people tell me "just stop over-thinking" or "don't worry yourself too much" like thanks, suddenly I don't feel terrible anymore because Betty told me not to. It's hard but I realise that my obsession with being perfect, with doing everything perfectly is just not working anymore. When I was in school and that was all I had to do then it was okay, it was my main focus but now I have so much going on I have job interviews and my blog, I have my future to think about and bills to pay and a social life and suddenly being perfect at everything I do just isn't feasible, it also isn't worth the hassle. It's okay to not be perfect and get the best grades and the be the best at blogging and get the best response at interviews and I tell people this constantly but I just can't accept it myself. I want to change, I am actively going to force myself to stop stressing, to understand being perfect isn't the end goal in life and that isn't okay to not get everything exactly how you want it, that my best is good enough even if my best isn't THE BEST. 

This post is actually quite hard for me to let go of to post and let go live because I want to be perfect, I want it to look like I never struggle, I want to be that girl who does it all, but it's just not worth the stress. I want people to know we all struggle and we all find it hard to juggle everything in life and sometimes your best is good enough. 

So, what do you think? Is it hard to stop being an over-thinker, are you like me or are you sat thinking that I'm crazy?
Why Success isn't a One Size Fits All

I once knew a person where everything they did was a competition. They got good grades to compete with others in their class, they bought social media followers to have more than the Twitter fan club but something was missing; happiness. They stalked the girls they competed with on social media like they were prey and cheered inside anytime they stumbled or had a setback and it made them feel good, but only for a while. Truth be told it came down to their own personal unhappiness because they were successful but not in the ways which lit a fire in their soul, they successful conventionally but for all the wrong reasons and because of that they lost sight of what they wanted to succeed at. Succeeding in the conventional lifestyle wasn't what they wanted and that's okay, success is not a one size fits all. 

If you looked down my list of accomplishments you'd say I have been successful in a conventional way: bachelors degree - check, masters degree - check, ran a blog for four years - check, but to some people, my accomplishment list sounds boring and bland. Other people's accomplishment list reads more like "Climbed a mountain - check, visited 12 countries - check" or "bought a house - check, had two kids - check, a successful marriage - check." The thing is we all have different ideas of what we want from life and who we want to be, so why is it constantly made out that we have to be A students who never make a mistake and do well academically and have a successful career? That may be the dream for some of us but it's not the dream for all of us. I know people who believe success is having a happy family and a successful relationship with their other half, does that make them any less successful than those of us who are conventionally successful? No, but they are made to feel like they are.

Why Success isn't a One Size Fits All

Sometimes success is a day-to-day lifestyle, being able to wake up each morning and take the day on is the success story of some. I feel like we are always succeeding in the little and big things we do, as years go by we have succeeded in a lot of ways we may not even be fully aware of. Our successes are the little and big things we do that make us happy and isn't that how everyone wants to succeed? In being happy and living their life the way that makes them happy to be alive and wake up every day. Over the graduation period I have been witness to a lot of "I graduated with a first class honours degree", "I got a 2:1 in my honours and I am so pleased with myself" and these tweets and Instagram captions although are amazing, you should celebrate your successes and shout your achievements from the rooftop, but these comments can leave others feeling unaccomplished and like they failed. Just the other day I read a tweet by someone who never graduated university but they accomplished a happy lifestyle where they beat cancer, had a beautiful family and are now starting their own business from home and I'd say that is a greater success story than most.

I'd say the one factor making people feel even more guilty about their lack of conventional success is the Kylie Jenner story. You're not a 21 year old billionaire but you also didn't get a foot in the door from your famous family. You didn't have the money to start a company that Kylie did and you didn't get to hire all the top players in the game. Yes, Kylie is successful, she took that foot in the door and instead of getting timid and scared she broke the damn door down and I am not discrediting her success, but your story is different. Your story is unique and your story is your story so succeeding in whatever you want to and screw what other people have to say about it.

We have to stop living in this bubble where conventional success is the only success. Not everyone wants to go to university, not everyone wants a 9-5 job, not everyone wants a job, some people want to wake up happy in the morning. So if you didn't go to university or you didn't start a company at 19, remember that your success story is just as great as those who did because you lived by your own rules of what it means to succeed and your success made you happy so what does it matter?

So, what is your biggest success story? Do you have any unconventional success stories that people should know you are proud of. Comment and tell me or catch me over on social media: 

Innovative Face Mask Powder?!

Face masks are wonderful creations. They relax you, they set you up for the week ahead, they purify, they hydrate, they cleanse. They may as well do your taxes because once you've done a face mask you feel like a whole new person ready to take the world by storm. I adore face masks, I try to do them twice a week and love to multi-task and switch up my mask depending on the needs of my skin that day. I don't think I have ever come across a face mask I have not completely fallen head over heels in love with and what I love even more than a good face mask is innovative products. I adore when brands step outside the confined square of "this is what a product looks like, this is what it should include and this is how you use it". So, when Nask got in touch with me to try out their innovative powder masks you bet your bottom dollar I was like "yes please and thank you." 

You may be aware of my move towards being a more conscious consumer and when it comes to skincare I feel it is where we should all start. Skincare should be packed full of natural products and a good organic or cruelty-free/vegan drop in the description usually just leaves me wanting more. So when I read into Nask and their brand I was very pleased to discover that they are a purely natural brand who do not test on animals, include parabens in their products and definitely do not use chemicals when creating their gorgeous masks. They are a very new brand which I adore collaborating with, I love working with new, unknown and niche brands because they tend to need that little bit more of a boost, especially when their products are incredible. 

Innovative Face Mask Powder?!

Nask does three gorgeous masks; Chocolate Honey Radiance, Black Lava Charcoal Cleansing and Hydrating Milk. What makes these masks different from your traditional Origins or The Body Shop mask is that they come as a powder, yes powder. So what you do is drop a little powder into a bowl, a Tupperware dish, whatever and then add equal amounts water, swirl and mix, leave for a minute and then apply. What is amazing about this is that they don't age, the one negative about face masks is that sometimes you own too many and before you know it your mask is stiff as a rock and out of date. With these powders they age a thousand times better, not toughness, no roughness, you make the amount you need and leave the rest of the powder until next time. I love that as I couldn't tell you the last time I actually finished a face mask and half a tub didn't end up in the bin because it got tough and went out of date before I finished it. Nask were kind enough to give me a set of all three products in luxury sample jars, but I am almost certain these will last me another month despite the constant usage. 

I have been using these masks twice a week now for almost a month rotating between the masks in order to fully reap the benefits of each. The first one I sampled was the Black Lava Charcoal Cleansing Mask. I used this one around the time of my period, my pores were clogged and my skin was feeling the brunt of my hormones. The first time I tried the mixing shindig I definitely added too much water then too much product then too much water again and it resulted in far too much product by the time I got the balance perfect. This mask is a black powder, it can be pretty messy and once it is on your face it is of course very visible, I accidentally terrified by niece while wearing it. It has a very clean scent to it which for a cleansing mask is always a good sign. After the first use, my skin didn't have a dramatic change, it felt cleaner, I felt a little less oily in my t-zone and my pores looked a little less inflamed. 

Throughout my time using this mask I have seen a decrease in spots and impurities particularly around my chin area where I get the majority of my spots, my pores have become close to invisible and I have barely seen a blackhead on my nose. I really adore this mask, it reminds me a lot of The Body Shop's Himylian Charcoal mask must without the exfoliant element. The next masks of the three I opted to try out was the Chocolate Honey Radiant mask, this was the mask I was most excited for. I was feeling stressed and my skin had lost all its glow, I was definitely not radiant. So I mixed up some of the product and slathered it onto my face, it is a brown shade which when drying looks almost like a really bad fake tan job but it smells like actual chocolate. After the first use, I really didn't see a difference.
Innovative Face Mask Powder?!

It wasn't until I had tried this product about 4 times that I really started to see a bit more of an inner glow coming from my face. It could best be described as a glow from within that just makes you look like you are winning in life. The last mask I checked out was their Hydrating Milk Mask, the mask I was most interested in and the one I had the most difficulty with. I had a lot of trouble mixing this mask, no matter how much powder I added it was much more runny and watery than the other two and looked clear on the face. I honestly thought I wasn't doing it right but each and every time it was the same, a sheer gleam on the skin that if I stood up it felt might drip off. Over time I did begin to see a little difference, I don't really have dry skin during summer so I can't comment on the effect it has on that but my skin was feeling much more supple and soft, it felt like I had been sticking to my water target each day (probably didn't most days). I was quite shocked it seemed to still benefit my skin considering how much I assumed it was not applying properly. 

Overall, I did use all of these masks during the four-month period so there may be some overlapping on which masks did what to my skin, but I continued to take photos after each mask to keep a record and I am almost certain I correctly identified the benefits my skin received from each. I didn't use any other face masks but continued with my current skincare regime (read here) so all benefits most likely came from the masks as I have been using the same skincare products for around two months now so they've already shown their benefits to me. I have loved testing these products, I feel like they are amazingly innovative and quirky and I would definitely purchase full-size products once my minis run out.

So, what do you think? Are these masks a gimmick or are they innovative and different? Tell me in the comments or come chat with me on social media: 

How to be Productive When You're not Feeling it

There are some people out there in the world who will tell you being productive all the time is easy, it's a breeze and not something you have to work at. Those people are liars and they are the worst kind of liar because they're only lying to you so you feel bad about your unproductive days and so they can look like they're better than you aka the worst. Being productive all the time is literally impossible, we all have to take days off, blow off steam, take a step back and relax and let our brains switch off, no one is productive every second of every day, if they are, they're a robot and the revolution is on its way. Sometimes you're unproductive for a reason, a very good reason, you need rest, when this happens, take the weekend off, relax, chill out, let yourself take a breather. There are other times when we are unproductive just because of it easy and you should never be that person, instead, you could...

Here me out on this one, it's not your typical to-do list, write all your tasks on the left side of the sheet and on the right side name one reason you should get this task done. Will it free up your weekend? Will it get you in the good graces with your boss to have it done early? Will it let you get an early night? Pick the top reason you should get the task done, by writing it down you are almost allowing your brain to believe it will be rewarded for doing the task and thus you'll feel more motivated to do it because you have a reason for doing it and it's written down as cold hard fact not just something you've told yourself in your head a million and one times but never took seriously. 

So you have to write a three thousand word piece, split that into four 750s. Start the first 750 words and once you've finished take a break. This break may be a break for food, for coffee or simply to deviate to another task that you find more enjoyable or that is just different in general. Doing this not only makes the workload seem smaller and more manageable but regular breaks will allow you to clear your mind and stop you thinking about the task for a long enough time that when you return to it you will be seeing it with fresh eyes and not be an overstressed mess who can't read anything on the topic without having flashbacks of that time you stress ate 12 chocolate bars because you forgot how to spell your name for a second. 

How to be Productive When You're not Feeling it

If you are able to do this one it always helps. If it is sunny outside try sitting in the sunshine for added motivation or move from your typical desk to a cafe. If you can't change your scenery due to y'know a 9 to 5 with strictly assigned work areas then play about with the layout of your desk just make some changes that mean you're not sat looking at the same area you have been every other time you've stressed out and wanted to cry. Sometimes our past experiences make us see a particular area as the area in which we freaked out or cried or failed at something, so we continue this association and it puts us off wanting to try again within that area in case it happens again. I interned at a place that regularly changed the assigned desks of the staff to increase productivity, I looked into it and it actually works for this exact reason.

Say you have five tasks to complete in a day, start with those tasks that will take the smallest amount of time. Doing this gives you the feeling of succeeding and success further motivates you. So once you're on the ball you will want to continue knocking your tasks out the park and by the time the almighty big task that you've been scared of tackling comes up you will have succeeded so much by doing the small tasks you will no longer be afraid of it. It will seem like a breeze because I mean look how quickly you completed the other four, you're a master of all trades, no one can stop you. 

I know, I know, putting your phone away in 2018? It's a crime against humanity, right? Well when you're constantly getting texts, Instagram likes and Facebook comments through to your phone then you are constantly taking your eye off the ball to see what Bethany said about meme your tagged her in or what Alan said about having dinner at the new Italian and suddenly an hour has passed and you've done absolutely no work because that meme led you to scroll through the profile and that text made you check the ratings of the website online which led you to read an article about why pasta isn't as healthy as you may think. This is a hard task to do for some, those who work in social media are at the top of the list but you can turn off notifications so you don't deviate from your tasks as much as you could have. 

What are your biggest tips for being productive even when you're not feeling it? Tell me below and don't forget you can also interact with me on my social media profiles:

Bringing Back The Goal Posts: July Goals

It's been a while since I did one of these posts, they were all the rage back when I started to blog. Every month every single blogger would start the month by laying out the plans they had for it and the goals they wished to achieve. A few bloggers still do them regularly and I adore reading them, they are so motivating and I always wonder why I don't still write them but then I never seem to actually go back to writing them and that cycle lasts forever. That cycle comes to an end today because I want to write up my goals for the month, I have quite a few things I'd like to achieve by July 31st so it is the perfect month to get back into the goal setting hype. 

The first and most important one of all, by the end of July I would like to have an industry job. I have been in education for 17 years and I have not worked all those years not to get a job in the industry I am qualified to work in. I graduate with my masters degree in November and so getting a job just before I graduate would be perfect as I am finished classes, I am ahead of my dissertation schedule and I am looking forward to actually working and having a job in the industry that I am passionate about. 

I haven't been entirely dedicated to my blogging schedule lately, life has been busy, I've been distracted by my university work and my blog has really taken the brunt of it all. For a while, I was even thinking of stopping my blogging career and just continue to use social media to interact with all my favourite bloggers but I love to write in my spare time and I love to be part of the blogging community so instead I want to get back into blogging regularly and spark my passion for it again. 

Bringing Back The Goal Posts: July Goals

I am officially halfway through my dissertation, two of the main chapters have now got first drafts completed and handed into my advisor and by the end of the month, I'd like to have the rest of my dissertation first draft complete and maybe two or three chapter second drafts done too. It is due in the second week of August so I'd love to be almost complete by this point so I have two weeks of tweaking, editing and adjusting. 

One of the things I really have a lack of right now in my life is adventure. I am in desperate need of some fun and adventure and I would love to add more to my life this July. I want to do new things, see new places and have fun. I've become a little bit of a hermit throughout my time doing my masters, so dedicated to getting good grades I forgot to have a life and I am over with that now, I want to have a life and have fun. 

I am a worrier. It is what I do, it comes naturally if I could get paid for worrying I would be a billionaire, but I am so fed up of over thinking the smallest things, of worrying constantly about things I cannot change or help. I want to worry less and enjoy more. I've always been jealous of people who just do things, they don't think about it, they are spontaneous and adventurous and that's just not me but that's who I want to be. 

What are your goals for July? Are there some things you are hoping to achieve before July 31st? 
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