Sunday, 24 November 2013

Dealing with A-N-X-I-E-T-Y

For anyone who's suffered from anxiety you'll understand it's one of the most difficult challenges a person can deal with. Day to day things become a struggle when you're consumed by something that's making you feel as though you're looking through life with a hazey grey filter. Everything ends up being a challenge, even just walking to the shops. You feel jumpy, scared, paranoid, stressed, tired, grumpy, irritable, sad, alone, worried, tearful...and that's just to name a few.

Personally I've struggled with anxiety for most of my life, but it's something I've learnt to deal with. I don't think it ever really goes away, but there are certainly times where it's lurking around in the background rather than being at the forefront of my mind. I'm not saying there aren't times where all I want to do is crawl into my bed and never go outside again, but I promise you it gets better. There are so many ways you can help yourself. What some people don't realise is anxiety is not just something that makes you feel a 'little bit stressed or worried', it's very closely linked to depression. It's difficult to sleep, hard to concentrate on anything other than all the negative things in your life/around you, and it's especially hard to feel confident in yourself; to put yourself out there for people to see. Which can mean making new friends and meeting new people is extremely daunting.
I find when I'm at my most anxious it's so hard to get myself out of bed in the mornings, the thought of facing the day terrifies me. But I've come up with ways that make me feel that bit better about taking those first steps into the morning. 

Surround yourself with the people you love.
Sounds like an obvious one, but seriously, spending time with the people in your life who care about you and who you can trust makes a big difference. A long time ago I decided I was only going to spend time with the individuals who made me a better person, the ones who are there for me and the ones who are good honest people. Surrounding yourself with people that make you feel inferior or intimidated is only going to make you feel a whole lot worse.

Be honest with yourself and talk about what scares you.
If you suffer from anxiety be honest with yourself and accept it, it makes it easier to move onto the next steps of getting help. Being honest with the people in your life helps too, I often forget to give people the benefit of the doubt, but you'll be pleasantly surprised about how human we all are.  Fortunately I have a supporting family and partner who help me through everything I throw at them. Although unfortunately I know that not everyone is as lucky, but there are still people out there who want to help. Websites such as anxiety UK have a huge support system in place ready to help anyone who needs it.

Look after YOU!
I've spent a lot of time looking after other people and it's only as I near my mid 20's that I realise I am important too! Looking after yourself if so important for your own welfare, making sure you find the time to do the things you enjoy makes a huge difference to your mood. I find pampering myself and looking after me helps me to focus on things other than the way I'm feeling. Keeping your mind focused and busy just brings a sort of peace that I can't explain.

I'm not going to sit here and preach that you should be eating organic healthy tasteless junk, but you do need to eat. Your body is a machine and without fuel it won't run. Especially if like a lot of people that suffer from anxiety you're not sleeping. Don't stress about what you're eating, when you're feeling the way you are the last thing you need to be worrying about is counting calories! Eat what tastes good and concentrate on your mental state instead.

One thing I would insist on is that alcohol is a no no! It's depressant and in no way will help the way you're feeling. Granted I'm as partial to an alcoholic beverage as much as the next person but certainly in large quantities when I know my anxiety is lurking. It may make you feel warm and fuzzy on the night, but trust me the next week will be so much worse, it's just not worth it.

Focus on the things you enjoy.
When my anxiety is at it's peak, I personally like to be in the safety of my flat, I don't like going out particularly and often I just want to try to relax. I think in moderation this is okay, it's what makes me happy and what makes me feel calm. Finding your 'safe place' is a really good way of controlling your anxiety, it's somewhere you can go where you feel comfortable and able to unwind.

However I also find it important to make sure that when I'm feeling especially awful I don't slip into a routine of never leaving the house. It's what makes you feel isolated and can often lead to depression. I'm not by any means saying it's easy, I know first hand it's not and often I find myself needing to sit and realise I'm not even taking my own advice. But sometimes it's crucial to push yourself, just baby steps at first, perhaps just trying to do one new thing a month, or meeting one new person, trust me it will help, don't let anxiety consume you! Slowly but surely you start to feel more confident and when that grey hazey filter starts to clear, doing these baby steps feels a lot less daunting.

The tiny things like painting my nails, writing a blog post, watching a new series on tv, spending time with my family and friends are what help me day to day. They may seem small but they're what I enjoy and focusing on these things help to take my mind off what I'm feeling.

Find out what's making you feel this way.
It's often hard to establish why it is we feel the way we do. But writing it down is very therapeutic. When all your stresses and worries are swirling around in your head filling you with white noise, it's hard to concentrate on anything else. Writing everything that's on your mind clearly for you to see helps so much. Think of it as taking them out of your mind and throwing them onto a piece of paper instead. It also helps to rationalise the things you're worried about, looking at them in one sentence is far less intimidating that having them float around in your head. I like to make a tick list of all the things that I know are contributing to the way I'm feeling and slowly work through getting rid of them, or taming them at least.

Obviously all of these things are what work for me but I would be overjoyed if I could help at least one person with being honest about what helps me. 

Remember to be proud of who you are; this will not define you. I promise (:

Monday, 18 November 2013

Ever so Subtle with Sleek!

Sleek Blush 
(Rose Gold 926)
Sleek is a brand I am totally in love with. I find their products so affordable, yet everything from the packaging to the product itself screams luxury. I don't feel as though I'm buying a 'drugstore' beauty product whatsoever.

I have a couple of the eyeshadow pallets which have been almost used up now, but I purchased this blush recently and felt I had to talk about how beautiful it is! Typically the shade (a dusty pale pink) suggests to me a spring or summer colour. However the rose gold shimmer that is laced throughout is perfect for the Christmas party season.

I find blush buying a bit of a challenge as my skin is SO pale, no matter what time of year it is I always struggle to find shades that are light enough. I've found that with this blush I can give my cheeks a lovely rosy glow without looking liked I've been slapped round the face. However although this is a light pastel shade the colour is buildable if you want a bolder look.

As you can see in this photo, the blush is so subtle, that's what I love most about it, what I want from my blush is just a slight touch of colour. Whats great about this product is the rose gold shimmer running throughout acts as a stunning highlight too. It's basically two products for the price of one! The shimmer isn't too overbearing either which makes it a great daytime product as well as one for parties. Priced at just £4.49 from Boots this little blush really is a steal! As its 3 for 2 in Boots stores right now I would recommend purchasing two beauty products you've been lusting after and throwing this one in as the freebie, you won't regret it!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Be the Queen of Curls

 Enrapture 'Extremity Heated Rollers'

Ever since I can remember I've had curly hair, however the older I get the less bouncy the curls seem to be. I'm always looking for new tools that will make giving my hair that extra volume easier and more time efficient. These heated rollers by Enrapture are by far the best I've found! They heat up in minutes so if I'm in a rush in the mornings (which is always) I just pop them on whilst I do my makeup and they're always fully heated by the time I'm finished.

 (One of the smaller rollers and clips)

What I love about these rollers is that not only does the roller itself heat from the core, but the clip heats up as well. Which means if you have thick wild hair like mine, the heat will actually get through to the whole curl meaning it sets brilliantly. I also find that unlike some other rollers I've used the curls actually stay put for most of the day. Of course they drop a little which is to be expected, but I actually prefer this as they look slightly more natural.

Theres a few different ways to put them in, so don't be put off at first if you cant get the hang of it. It took me a while to find a technique that suited me. Once you've figured out what works best for you they're so quick to put in which I love. They work whether you want a quick burst of volume or if you want to take time to create perfect curls.

Here I haven't used all of the rollers and most of the time I dont bother, I have quite long hair and still always seem to have some left over. What I like to do is let the rollers drop at different lengths rather than roll the hair right to my head. This gives a mixture of fully formed curls and waves, the set comes with two different sized rollers so even if you didn't want to do it this way you still get a variety of curl sizes.

I find that you only need to leave them in for around 15 minutes to create the curls, however I've found that if you want them to stay in from morning to night I'd leave them in until they've completely cooled. 

I'd recommend these beauties to anyone, they're honestly the most incredible rollers I've used, they're incredibly simple to use, so whether you're a hair styling expert or a complete novice guaranteed you'll be able to use them and best of all they actually work! Check out my instagram for some examples of different ways they can be used (:

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Skincare Saviours!

These three little gems are my saviours when it comes to dry skin. Unfortunately my skin HATES the winter. With the freezing winter creeping its way in, heating gets cranked up at home/shops/on the bus, practically everywhere we set foot, obviously this is extremely drying for the skin. Not to mention the wind and cold weather, all of these factors send my skin crazy. I also find myself wanting a cup of hot chocolate rather than a pint of water, so I end up drinking less fluid, but lets face it who actually has time to drink enough water to keep their skin fully hydrated? After years of trying to find a combination of products that work, I've finally found 3 that go hand in hand.

Dermalogica 'Daily Microfoliant'

I start with the Dermalogica 'Daily Microfoliant', I keep this in my shower and use it around twice a week depending on how often I feel I need it. I love this stuff because its not the same as your average exfoliant. It actually comes out the tube as a powder, sort of like a salt shaker. The powder then reacts upon contact with water, so be careful if you keep it in your shower that you don't get any water into the bottle as this will mess up the whole product. All you need is about half a teaspoons worth in the palm of your hand, add a few drops of water to the powder and mix it into a paste, then exfoliate as usual.

The paste is a million times more gentle than other products that claim to do the same thing. It doesn't have any grit, which effectively makes tiny abrasions in the skin - break out alert! By causing these tiny scratches on the skin it leaves a golden opportunity for any bacteria to creep in. I know a chemical exfoliant sounds scary but I have extremely sensitive skin and have had absolutely no reactions to this product. It's left my skin feeling softer, brighter and smoother. It even includes Grapefruit and Licorice which helps to balance uneven skin pigmentation as well as Green Tea, Ginkgo and Colloidal Oatmeal to help calm the skin, leaving it feeling clear and refreshed. I can honestly say I haven't found a product that does the job better!

 Origins 'Make a Difference'
 (Skin rejuvenating treatment lotion)

This product works as a skin rejuvenating treatment lotion, it reminds me of a toner. I find this is a great way to add some extra moisture to the skin, it also feels really refreshing on the face and helps to remove any makeup that a cleanser may have missed. As it's a very light liquid I would recommend using a cotton pad to apply it to the face. Its a nice way to prep the skin before putting on a daily moisturiser. Unfortunately it is a little on the pricey side, so although I would like to use it everyday I normally restrict myself to about 4 times a week.

 Origins 'Drink Up Intensive' 
 (An overnight mask to quench skin's thirst)

This little beauty is my favourite by far! A miracle product! As it's an overnight moisture mask, the consistency is thicker than the average moisturiser, although it doesn't feel heavy at all. I like it as it's incredibly easy and non time consuming. All you have to do is apply a thin layer before you go to bed, when you wake up your skin feels gorgeous and rehydrated, there's no messing around with having to wash it off again. I find this is especially lovely at this time of year, often face masks irritate my skin but this one has been a dream. 

I would highly recommend these products to anyone that suffers from dry skin. However this last product can feel ever so slightly greasy so I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that is prone to very oily skin.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Adventures in America

(Yosemite National Park)

Finally the time has come where have been able to sit for longer than 5 minutes to start something I have wanted to do for while. An important person in my life taught me that passion is exciting, inspiring and absolutely everywhere. Whether it's Music, Fashion, Art...or even Maths, if it's what gets you out of bed in the morning then it's got to count for something. So, I figured, what better way to share these things than on the ever expanding, ever terrifying, internet.

I thought I'd go with something lighthearted and to be honest pretty b-e-a-utiful. I was lucky enough to travel to America with my wonderful partner in crime this summer and we saw some truly spectacular things. We travelled from San Diego to LA, San Fran, Monterey, Yosemite and Vegas. All of this in just over 3 weeks, it was honestly one of the best things I have ever done, I'm so appreciative that I had the opportunity to go.

(Yosemite National Park)

This view we happened to stumble across by accident, Yosemite is like a maze to drive, especially if you're used to driving on the other side of the road and your sat nav is having a melt down. We ended up driving past this spot purely by accident, but I'm SO glad we did. The picture doesn't do it justice, it was mountains for miles and miles. Unfortunately due to the awful forest fires (cry) we were unable to do as much exploring as we'd have liked. But it was beautiful nonetheless.

(En route to Big Sur)

 We were lucky enough to hire a car for most of the trip, which meant listening to Disco and actively trying to avoid veering into the wrong lane. Some of the best parts of the adventure were spontaneous pit stops, I always think its the little things that make a trip memorable. For example...

(Elephant Seals)

We came across these ridiculous idiots on our way to Monterey (one of my favourite places we visited). I genuinely thought they were rocks when we walked over to them. Although they were all cuddled up which was a little heart warming. Even if they do just look like big jelly monsters. (Also they always look as though they're really content. Maybe being a jelly monster wouldn't be so bad?)

There were so many other fantastic things we got to see and do, but some memories are better just left in your head I think. 

That same special person who has inspired me throughout my life also shared my love of this poem by Emily Dickinson. Unfortunately neither are with us anymore, but what should crop up in an aquarium in America of all places? The phrase that always has and always will remind me of his influence forever, they're always there. Even if you can't bring yourself to believe it.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.