My First Body Shop Haul | My New Skincare Routine

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These photos were edited using PicMonkey, VSCO, A Color Story & Afterlight.

For those of you who’ve read my previous post, you’ll know that my skin has been a little problematic over the Winter months. So, I decided to try Microdermabrasion and a Carbon Laser Facial – if you’re new here or simply haven’t read this post and happen to be interested in what I had to say about these treatments, you can find out here! Don’t forget you can subscribe to receive notifications via email when I upload a new post or follow me on WordPress if you enjoy my content!

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Now, it may come as a surprise that until a few weeks ago, I’d never used ANYTHING from the Body Shop (shocker, I know); however, after hearing some pretty good reviews of their products from you guys over on Twitter, that changed and I thought I’d let you know just how I’m getting on with my new Body Shop skincare routine!

So, with that being said, let’s start with the Tea Tree Clearing Facial Wash. I’ve been searching for a product I can use daily to help with my breakouts without drying out my combination skin as I’ve been relying on masks to soothe my problematic, acne-prone skin which aren’t designed to be used every day. I’m always cautious of introducing new products into my skincare routine, so to see how I got on, I bought this 60ml bottle for £3.

I’ve been using the facial wash for around a month now and although I can’t say it’s totally cleared my existing breakouts, they are occurring in fewer areas and my skin looks fresh and mattified after every use. Introducing new products to your skincare routine can actually cause breakouts (you can read more on this here) so I’ll continue to use the product for a little longer and update you guys again.

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Moving on to the Berry Bon Bon Shower Gel. Now, I have to confess, I bought this product as it was on sale and I wanted free delivery – yep, I’m that person. First of all, I was shocked at how much product I got for £3.50 and it’s deliciously fruity! It works great as bubble bath too – the smallest amount bubbles up in no time! I’ll definitely be buying this product again as it’s great value for money and I’d love to try some of the other Berry Bon Bon products. You can browse the collection here!

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Moving onto the Seaweed Oil Balancing Clay Mask (£11). The first few times I used this product, I loved it! It really cooled my skin (especially blemished areas) and absorbed excess oil like a sponge; however, the last time I used the mask, it irritated my skin and caused redness – especially on my cheeks and around my nostrils. I’m currently using this mask once a week but I’m wondering if it’s too harsh for my current skin type…

As much as I love the oil-balancing qualities of this mask, I probably wouldn’t recommend it for sensitive skin which is really disappointing – especially as my skin seems to get on perfectly fine with the Seaweed Cleansing Gel Wash (£8)!

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I’m currently alternating between the Seaweed Cleansing Gel Wash and Tea Tree Clearing Facial Wash, which seems to be working pretty well for me and I love how both products lather up on my skin. Based on my thoughts about the products I’ve tried so far, I’ll definitely be giving more Body Shop products a go and I’m always open for suggestions – let me know your favourite Body Shop product in the comments!

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What is a Carbon Laser Facial & does Microdermabrasion work?

The changing seasons certainly don’t do my skin any favours, as the weather changes, so does my skin; I’ve been experiencing painful breakouts, an oily T-zone, dry / flaky patches and an uneven complexion – even my go-to Lush products didn’t seem to be saving this one. I wasn’t sure what to do next, so I turned to Twitter (obviously) and it turned out that quite a few of you experience the exact same problem!

So, I decided to do a little research; I discovered that transitioning from one season to another can be tough on skin, especially colder climates, harsh winds and cooler temperatures – which can worsen existing skin conditions and even cause new ones. I had no idea how much the weather can affect our skin! Low humidity levels in Winter can cause dehydration and when the skin’s moisture is not replaced its defence is to produce more oil, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts – which basically sums up my current situation!

Seeing as my current skincare routine didn’t seem to be making much of a difference to my new ‘Winter skin’, I decided to try something different: a Carbon Laser Facial (£45) and Microdermabrasion (£35).

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These photos were taken prior to the Carbon Laser treatment.

For those of you who haven’t heard of these treatments before, a Carbon Laser Facial is a painless treatment which is beneficial for people with oily skin, blackheads, enlarged pores, dull skin, and acne – pretty much everything that I have! The treatment has several benefits: cleansing, exfoliating, rejuvenating and acne and oil reducing.

Now, let’s get onto how the treatment actually works. First of all, my beauty therapist cleansed my skin with Dermalogica products suited to my skin type before applying a layer of liquid carbon which penetrates into the pores. She then went over the carbon with a laser, destroying the carbon and taking dead skin cells, contaminants and excess oil with it.

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Photo sourced from www.pexels.com

I have to admit, this was one of the weirdest sensations I’ve ever felt! It wasn’t at all painful but I could definitely feel the heat of the laser through the carbon, which increased in some areas. The laser felt ‘snappy’ on places where I had congestion and made a ‘popping’ sound as it went over these areas. Oh, and the smell of the carbon being zapped by the laser STANK! Despite being odd to start with, I quickly got used to the feel, smell and sound of the laser and bizarrely, I found it quite relaxing!

When the treatment was over, my beauty therapist wiped away any dirt and impurities left behind from the laser and applied Dermalogica Ultra Calming Mist to reduce any redness caused by the heat of the laser. Obviously, any existing spots or blemishes weren’t going to have vanished in that half-an-hour, but the bacteria and excess oil on my skin that could have resulted in future breakouts had been absorbed by the carbon and zapped well away!

Instantly, I could see a huge difference to my skin; my pores appeared blurred and had dramatically reduced in size and my skin was left feeling clean and oil-free! Without a doubt, I’d recommend this treatment to anyone with acne-prone and/or oily skin.

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Photo sourced from pixabay.com

Moving onto Microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment that uses fine crystals and a vacuum to clean out pores and gently remove dead skin cells on the skin.

Like the Carbon Laser Facial, this treatment felt pretty odd – I did have a vacuum on my face after all! Again, my beauty therapist cleansed my skin prior to the treatment and applied Dermalogica Barrier Repair afterwards. The treatment left my skin feeling softer and looking brighter; I did experience some redness (as a result of increased blood flow caused by the vacuum) which went down over several days.

What really made me realise how much of a difference the treatment actually made was how smooth my foundation went onto my skin! I’d usually find areas where my foundation would appear clogged into my skin (particularly on my nose and forehead) even when I’d exfoliate, but since having the treatment, my skin was so much smoother!

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This photo was taken after the Microdermabrasion treatment.

The benefits of both treatments were visible immediately, with little downtime. I also found it beneficial having the treatments within a week of each other; the deep cleansing, antibacterial Carbon Laser helped nip any future breakouts in the bud while the Microdermabrasion re-surfaced my skin, taking away any dead skin cells which could have resulted in a breakout. Since having the treatments, my breakouts have reduced dramatically, pores appear smaller, my complexion is more even, my skin is producing less oil and makeup blends smoothly onto my skin – perhaps a deep-clean and re-surface is just what I needed!

Although I’d recommend both treatments to anyone with a similar skin type to myself, everybody’s skin is different so please research to make sure you choose a treatment that’s right for you. Feel free to ask me any questions about either of the treatments (or both) in the comments!

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Photo sourced from pixabay.com

How I take care of my mental health during the festive season

Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it? There are so many things I love about the festive season but I’d be lying if I said there aren’t parts of it I find hard to enjoy… Originally, I was going to share my twelve favourite things about Christmas but I quickly fell out of love with what I was writing. It felt forced and fake – something I never want my blog to be.

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These photos were edited using PicMonkey.

I feel like there are so many expectations and clichés that come with Christmas and a lot of the time, I think the idea is a lot more enjoyable than the reality – and it’s OKAY to think that! Not enjoying the ‘typical’ Christmas activities doesn’t make you a ‘Scrooge’, it means you’re human – and a month of festivities certainly isn’t worth sacrificing your mental health over. So, I’ve decided to share how I take of myself and my mental health during the festive season.

Putting yourself first and knowing your limits

It’s taken me YEARS to realise that it’s not selfish to put myself first, sometimes I need to –  especially at Christmas. I’ve spent far too much time trying to please other people, often putting their needs before my own. I’d never take a moment to consider what might be best for me, and my mental health would suffer the consequences. Now, I know exactly how far I can push myself before things get too much and if I don’t feel up to doing something, I don’t do it. I’m not saying I no longer push myself, because I do and I think it’s important to strive to be the best version of yourself and help others when you can – but we all have limits.

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You don’t have to eat or drink ‘because it’s Christmas’

Christmas is a time when people come together to celebrate, usually around a table full of delicious food & drink – and lots of it. Mouthwatering food ads are on the telly and magazines are posted through our doors; however, I can’t help but feel like food is almost ‘forced’ upon us during the festive season, which can be particularly hard for those with an unhealthy relationship with it. As someone who hasn’t had the healthiest of relationships with food, I can’t express how important it is to only eat and drink what YOU’RE comfortable with.

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Don’t break your routine

The holidays are a time for… well… holidaying! Tuesday is my last day of uni until the new year and I know just how easy it is for routines to go out the window. Now, don’t get me wrong, taking a break is important but taking a break from routine isn’t always good for your mental health. If keeping to a schedule or working through to-do lists works for you, stick to it! I can never just ‘relax’, even when I’m doing nothing, I have to be doing something – if that makes any sense at all! Ticking things off my to-do list is a huge mood booster for me, I love being productive! There’s no reason to change what works for you during the holidays – I know I won’t be changing a thing!

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Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping – some of us love it, some of us hate it. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse than facing a busy shopping centre or Christmas market during the holidays! I used to beat myself up over not being able to physically go into a store to shop – a task many people wouldn’t think twice about doing! I’ve slowly learnt to accept that it simply isn’t my scene and I shouldn’t feel guilty for not putting myself in situations which I know make me uncomfortable. Or, if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll go at ‘quieter’ times on a weekday. If you can make things easier for yourself definitely do it! But, if online shopping is more your style – that’s okay, it’s certainly mine!

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Spend what YOU’RE comfortable with

Christmas can be a stressful time financially, and being a full-time student, money is pretty tight; however, I still wanted to buy gifts for my friends and family – I just had to think strategically.

To help save money, I actually bought some presents using my bursary which was exclusive to my university’s online shop as the things I wanted happened to be on sale! If you’re a student, you’ll understand when I say that buying stationery, books or any other equipment from uni is a total no go, as you can get most things elsewhere for half the price! So I thought I’d make use of my bursary which I probably wouldn’t have used otherwise.

Another way I saved money was by making gifts myself (kind of). I spent £5.00 on two mache elephants from Hobby Craft, which I then painted to give as ornaments to my grandparents – I also found painting them very therapeutic! Christmas doesn’t need to break the bank and you should only spend what you’re comfortable with.

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Take time out

This year, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more mindful and make time for myself and the holidays are no exception; whether means pampering myself, creating a calm, safe space, eating well, making sure I drink enough water or spending an hour doing nothing – and by that, I mean living vicariously through the life of a Sim. I’ve noticed a significant difference in my mood when I have a little ‘me’ time; I feel refreshed and motivated to get stuff done. Whatever you do over the holidays, try taking some time to focus on yourself – your brain will thank you for it.

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It’s often the smaller things that make a big difference

2018 has been the year I’ve realised that it’s the little things that make a big difference; I’ve learnt to appreciate small things such as: the cosiness of holding a warm cup of tea when it’s cold, the sound of rain when I’m falling asleep, the fresh smell of damp grass early in the morning, the weight of my body on my mattress when I meditate, laughing so hard that I forget the rest of the world exists – the list goes on. It’s one thing to notice these things and to embrace them is another, but when you do, you see life in a perspective you didn’t know existed. I believe that life shouldn’t just be lived, it should be felt, heard, smelt and tasted – and you know what they say, it’s always good to start small.

I hope this post can be of some help to you over the festive period. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate and taking care of yourself is the most important thing! Let me know in the comments what you do to look after yourself, I’d love to try some new methods of self-care over the holidays!

Talk soon,

– Beth x

Autumn Festivities & Returning to Blogging

It’s November. Where has this year gone? It feels like it was Summer just five minutes ago but now, the air is crisp, there’s a chill in the breeze and the cold, dark nights are drawing in. Soon, there will be firework displays, ice skating, wintery walks and the preparation for Christmas will begin – well, this year I’m THAT person because I’ve already started. 2018 is coming to a close and this crazy year has been truly life changing – in the best and worst ways possible.

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Back in October, Jess and I returned to the Elms for a spa break as a belated birthday gift. We were presented with cream tea on arrival, our room overlooked the rolling lawns out front (we even had a loo with a view) and we enjoyed scrumptious pub grub in the nearby village.

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After spending most of our evening relaxing in the spa (and attempting to do the lift from Dirty Dancing in the pool), we started the day with a breakfast banquet and a back massage – as you do! I have to admit, massages of ANY kind used to be a fear of mine as I couldn’t think of anything worse than a stranger rubbing their hands all over my body – but I needn’t have worried.

During the massage itself, I was a little tense (no surprise there), especially when I could feel the build-up of lactic acid (caused by stress) actually move around my body – which was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever experienced! Weirdly, it felt good – really good! I could definitely feel a difference, the tightness in my neck, back and hips had completely gone – I’d almost forgot what it felt like not to be constantly aching! I might even have to put a massage down on my Christmas list…

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Moving onto more Autumnal activities, Jess and I went pumpkin picking at a local farm with our friend Jake; unfortunately, this was the kind of activity where the idea is better than the reality. What the cute Instagram posts fail to mention is, chances are, it’s going to be cold, wet and windy – which aren’t the most pleasant conditions for standing in a field or getting lost in a maze. Bad weather aside, I managed to get some good photos (with the help of Jake) and we had a few laughs when I lost my balance getting stones out of my shoe – which is tricky on a sloping hill, let me tell you.

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This year, I thought I’d try something a little different and paint my pumpkin instead of carving it. Now, if you’re anything like me, all craft ideas usually come from one source – Pinterest; although, my creations never quite match up to the perfect photos on my boards.

I decided to go for a simple copper design (staying on trend of course) with a touch of glitter. I’m not entirely sure if painting my pumpkin was any easier than carving it… especially as it tipped over, knocking over a glass of water and tub of glitter – it was an experience to say the least! Let me know how you decorated your pumpkin in the comments!

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With the final month of 2018 just around the corner, I want to get back into blogging, as well as uploading other content more regularly. It’s been a while since I last posted, some of you may know why and others may not.

On October 12th 2018, my sister Lauren passed away. Everything stopped – including things I love to do such as creating content online. It was the last thing on my mind. Now, I feel ready. I feel inspired and I want to create content I’m proud of. For Lauren.

I make content online because it’s a way for me to express my thoughts – a lot like a diary that everyone can read or watch. It helps me. And if my content touches just one person out there in some way, then I’ve succeeded. I know Lauren was proud of me and I want to continue to make her proud.

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Out with the old & in with the new.

We’re ten months into 2018 and the academic year has started again; for me, September was a fresh start. It was time to say farewell to Summer, welcome crisp Autumn mornings and pick up a pumpkin spice latte – oh, and head off to university. Yep, that’s right, on September 25th I started university as well as a new job only a week before – I guess you could say I’m embracing change… and a lot of it.

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After applying to Lush twice before and missing the recruitment window by the skin of my teeth, I finally made it and was offered an interview – actually, make that two! The first interview (which actually turned out to be more of a recruitment party) was with around fifteen other candidates and I was TERRIFIED, but after the first few minutes of awkward “hello”s, “how are you”s and one painfully uninteresting ‘interesting’ fact about me, I was okay – especially after winning the icebreaker game of wink murder.

The second interview was 1-2-1 plus a shop floor trial, which went surprisingly well considering how nervous I was! I managed to sell a large charity pot, which isn’t actually a product I’ve used myself but I am familiar with a lot of its ingredients – BINGO! My supervisor observed the sale and gave the feedback I’d been praying for – she was impressed! With a sale in the bag and a pretty smooth second interview, I got the job!

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On September 25th, I worked my first proper shift at Lush. I was so excited. After all, I love Lush; I love the products, the in-store vibes, the friendly staff – surely I’d love it, right?

I didn’t. I found it so hard to enjoy my shift when I spent most of it feeling anxious and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I was so disappointed. I can’t express how frustrating it is when your mental health goes through a bad patch just as you have things you so desperately want to succeed in. As bummed as I was, I’m learning to take every day as it comes and I’m not going to let my anxiety set me back.

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Luckily, my first day at uni went a lot better. I couldn’t tell you the last time I managed a full day in education, so managing 9 – 5 was a HUGE achievement! Yes, my brain was frazzled by the end of it but it felt SO good to do something I never thought I could have – which was celebrated with a cool glass of prosecco (obviously).

I’m hoping that once I adjust to my new routine, things will get easier. I have so much to look forward to in the remaining months of 2018 such as my nineteenth birthday, Halloween, bonfire night and Christmas of course! Regardless of what’s in store for me as this life-changing year comes to a close, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.

 

Re-vamping My Skincare Routine.

For those of you who’ve been here a while, you’ll know it’s no secret that I’m a Lush cosmetics junkie – I swear by my Lush skincare routine! That being said, I do like to switch between products depending on the condition of my skin to keep it feeling healthy and fresh. So, I introduced two new masks and a cheeky bath bomb into my regime and as always, I’m going to share my thoughts on them.

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Mask Of Magnaminty:

After discovering the amazing benefits of this self-preserving face and body mask on my shop floor trial (which went so well that I actually got the job *HOORAH*), I just had to buy myself a tub! Mask of Magnaminty contains peppermint which is cooling on the skin, it also contains calming evening primrose and honey (which is naturally antibacterial) to help fight against pesky breakouts!

This mask definitely didn’t leave me feeling disappointed, it was super cooling and worked wonders for my uneven complexion; the redness on my cheeks had vanished, my spots appeared less inflamed and my t-zone was totally oil-free! I can’t recommend this product enough, especially if you struggle with breakouts and combination skin – I know I’ll be going back for more!

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Cupcake:

After switching between the same two fresh face masks for the past six months, I thought it was about time I threw another into the mix – and that’s how Cupcake became part of my skincare routine. I chose this chocolatey mask as it was created for oily, acne-prone teenage skin – PERFECT! Cupcake is made up of Rhassoul mud which is super absorbent and cocoa powder, which draws out dirt and impurities to give a deep cleanse; like Magnaminty, it also contains mint which tones the skin. This mask is now my go-to product when my skin’s going through a ‘more oily than usual’ patch, as I know it’ll help balance things out in no time.

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Butterball:

Now, you’re probably wondering what I’m doing buying a bath bomb which is known for its moisturising qualities when I have oily skin? Well, funnily enough, I actually struggle with dry skin on my body, especially on my elbows, knees and legs; which probably isn’t helped by the fact I’m ALWAYS forgetting to moisturise! Also, I have to admit, I’m not usually one to use bath bombs *all gasp* – I’m definitely more of a bubble bar kinda gal. I occasionally treat myself to ‘Think Pink’, ‘Cheer Up Buttercup’ or ‘Yellow Submarine’ but bath bombs aren’t the top of my list… aaand then I tried Butterball.

Butterball is great for replenishing dry, sensitive or irritated skin as it contains cocoa butter, which soothes and softens. It also contains Ylang ylang which helps relax the body, as well as relieve stress, anger, panic and fear. Butterball left my skin feeling moisturised, nourished and non-greasy – oh and smelling of sweet Ylang Ylang and Synthetic Musk… I guess you could say I’m sold!

I hope this post helps you find a skincare routine that works for you with products that suit your skin type. Although I can’t promise that these products will work for everyone, I feel they will agree with those who have combination skin like myself. If you do happen to try any of the products I’ve mentioned, let me know how you found them by dropping me a tweet or a message on Instagram, I’d love to hear from you!

A Letter To My Sixteen-Year-Old Self.

DISCLAIMER: I discuss (in detail) my experiences with mental illness throughout this post. If you’re in a vulnerable place right now or find posts like this triggering, you may want to give this one a miss!

Now, where do I even start? Sixteen-year-old me was lost, confused, battling a mental illness and on the verge of giving up. She couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, so two years on, I’ve decided to write her this letter.

Dear sixteen-year-old me (well, technically it’s seventeen-year-old me too), if only you could’ve seen where you are now. You wanted to give up so desperately but I’m so glad you didn’t. I guess it’s true what they say, things really do get better (excuse the cliche) – but you weren’t to know. You were struggling, trapped in your own mind which was getting darker by the day. Honestly, when I look back now, those years are nothing but a blur – which isn’t surprising when you slept most of the days away. But it was your only escape.

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Every day you’d wake up and question whether you deserved to live when you looked in the mirror. It was your best friend and your worst enemy. Some days you couldn’t bring yourself to look, so you’d cover it with a blanket and crawl back into bed, tears streaming down your face. It was an endless cycle. You told yourself that tomorrow would be different – but it never was, so you stopped trying. It consumed you.

You started taking pills, not enough to end things but enough to stop you from waking up for a few hours and having to face reality. You blamed the disappearing painkillers on migraines – but you always had a secret stash. You were secretive. Nobody knew you, not really.

You were self-harming just to feel something. You were numb. You lost touch with your friends, but you can’t blame them; people move on when you cancel every plan you make because you couldn’t bring yourself to look in the mirror to get ready – let alone leave the house. If you managed to get that far, you were hours late. You were late for everything. You spent so long trying to achieve ‘perfect’ – but you never did. There is no perfect.

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You’d spend weeks in your room, only leaving to get a snack or something to drink and occasionally bathe – that’s if you could find the motivation. You were a stranger, a stranger who developed a pretty unhealthy relationship with food – I can’t say I’m surprised though, your BDD had it right where it wanted you. You began to lose weight and you were losing it fast. It gave you something to focus on, something to aim towards and the closer you got to your goal, the ‘better’ you felt – you did at first anyway. You were living on a meal a day (if you call beans on toast or five veggie nuggets a meal that is), counting every calorie. You felt like a zombie, but you couldn’t stop. You were obsessed.

You craved the emptiness in your stomach, the burning feeling after doing sit-ups until your head went fuzzy, how you felt when you consumed fewer calories than your daily limit – it was the perfect distraction. You told yourself you’d be happy once you reached your goal weight – but you never were. You always had to go that little bit further. You were exhausted.

You were out of school, you had been since you were fourteen. You hated high school. You were sent to a pupil referral unit for students with difficulties like yours and it made things easier, for a short while at least – but you were still held captive by mental illness and you couldn’t find a way out; so most days you taught yourself at home (if you weren’t asleep that is) and somehow you still managed to pass four out of seven exams – you should be proud.

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Time passed and before you knew it, school was over. Just like that. Five years of education had passed and you had no idea of what to do next. You were lost. You didn’t feel ready to start college but you applied anyway – it was that or go straight into work which was a definite no go.

Putting a long story short, college wasn’t for you. You weren’t ready. Your tutors did everything they could to help you, but the girl they were trying to save was long gone and you dropped out a few months after Christmas.

That September, you tried again. A new course at a different college – surely by now you were ready? You weren’t. You managed one day, which wasn’t all that bad; but the thought of having to deal with that type of environment for the next two years while you were still very much at war with your mind was too much – so you dropped out again.

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Fast forward to now, you’ve spent eight-teen years on this earth and it sure hasn’t been easy; but you’re not lost, confused, or fighting a losing battle with a mental illness anymore.

  • You’ve celebrated one year of being with your incredible girlfriend.
  • Successfully held down a job for seven months.
  • Went to your first ever group interview.
  • Pushed your anxieties to the limit.
  • Travelled away from home.
  • Received an offer for university.
  • Opened up about your experiences online.
  • Met new friends.
  • Got ready for over two weeks straight and kicked BDD’s ASS.
  • Realised it’s OKAY to have off days.
  • You’ve learnt to love yourself.
  • You’re learning to embrace change and let go.
  • You’re the happiest you’ve ever been.

You are strong, you’re not defined by your struggles, you know who you are and who you’d like to be – and you like that person. Your past makes you who you are and you are proud. 

Change.

Change. It’s something many of us fear. Why? Since when did embracing the unknown become so scary? Well, in the next few months there are going to be a lot of changes in my life that I should probably begin to address.

First up, uni. If you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel, you may have seen my university announcement video. After a less than conventional high school experience, the last thing I expected was to be offered a place to study child and adolescent mental health at university. Pretty exciting right? Well, me being me, I’ve decided that a career in counseling may not be for me after all. Although I’m still very much interested in the subject, right now, I need to continue to focus on my own mental health before taking on other people’s and that’s okay – if I feel differently in the future, that’s fine too!

After completing my foundation degree in child and adolescent mental health, I’d love to study journalism. Now, you’re probably wondering how I can possibly go from wanting to study mental health to journalism – and I see your point. I don’t know either, but what I do know is, I love writing – especially about the things I feel passionate towards and mental health is one of them. I miss being creative full time and I’m craving something different.

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These photos were edited using PicMonkey.

With starting university, I’m having to leave my current job as a sales assistant at a snack shop; which at first, I was sad about because I truly love the people I work with and I’m comfortable (well, as comfortable as I can be). But then I thought about it, do I really love stacking shelves with dried fruits wrapped in excessive plastic? No.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved working at the shop, it’s helped me gain SO much confidence and as much as I’ll be glad to say goodbye to certain aspects of working in retail, there are a handful of customers I’ll genuinely miss.

However, just because I’ve grown to feel comfortable in the six months of working there, doesn’t mean I’m happy. I need to remember that everything is temporary and I won’t continue to grow from my comfort zone. These past six months have flown by, and as scary as that is, I feel ready for a change. What that is, I’m not sure but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve surprised myself with how relaxed I feel about the whole thing considering how much I used to (and still do) fear the unknown, but I’m slowly learning to accept and embrace it.

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And as for university (putting my increasing nervousness aside), I’m excited for the opportunities and adventures ahead, the people I’ll meet along the way and to grow even more as a person. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling anxious about going back into education but this time, I’m ready. I’ve taken the time I needed to focus solely on my mental health and now I want to start working towards my goal – and I look forward to sharing my journey with you every step of the way.

What is the purpose of life?

It’s been a few weeks since my last post – and here’s why. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about some pretty intense questions such as: who I am, what my purpose is, what it means to live and what do I want to do with my time on earth. I’ve fallen into the trap of comparing my life to those of public figures, well-known influencers and celebrities – thanks a lot brain! And that’s when I really thought about it, forget lavish celebrity lifestyles, to me, the purpose of life is:

Happiness

Before I begin, I just want to say that feeling ‘happy’ isn’t always possible and that’s OKAY. My point is, I think it’s important to acknowledge when we do feel this way, noticing the things that make us feel happy – whatever those may be. That being said, I also think it’s important to feel happy within yourself and to love yourself for who you are – I say that like I’m some kind of expert. I’m not. And I’m nowhere near there yet but I’m making progress every single day.

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These photos were edited using VSCO and Afterlight.

Relationships

I think healthy relationships are SO important and I guess it’s one of the reasons why we’re here, whether that be an intimate relationship, friendships or close relationships with family members. Having someone to share your life with or a best friend who you’ve known for years (although, just because you’ve known someone for while doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for you) or feeling so comfortable with someone that you can sit for hours talking about nothing.

Last weekend I went to my friend Emily’s house for a takeaway night, which is something we hadn’t done for a while. We ordered Chinese food, watched unfunny late-night comedy shows and stargazed for hours in the garden chatting over cups of tea. I felt so grounded. I barely even touched my phone after forgetting my charger; which at first, was a tragedy (obviously) but I’m actually glad I did. It was nice to take a break. I needed it.

Being mindful

We live in a society where EVERYONE is always on the go, there’s a rush to do everything. Why? There’s so much more to life when you slow down. So, over the past year, I’ve made a conscious effort to be more mindful: taking time to focus on how good that slice of pizza tastes, how that one song makes me want to get up and dance, how it feels to hold the hand of someone special, how beautiful the sun looks as it sets and how the air smells after it’s been raining. And you know what? I feel so much better for it! Little things really do make a big difference in a world full of chaos.

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Letting go

Sometimes friendships turn stale, it’s okay to let go of toxic people and move on from old routines… you might just need to let go to move forward.

Doing the things you love

As a self-confessed workaholic, I’m ALWAYS working on something; if I’m not serving customers, I’m planning blog posts, videos, editing videos, writing blog posts, taking photographs, editing photographs – let’s just say I find it hard to take a break and not feel guilty about it (which is pretty exhausting to say the least). Since I’ve taken up blogging and documenting parts of my life online, I’ve lost touch with old hobbies such as painting and learning the ukelele – which kinda saddens me. I’ve also started to use the things I ‘love’ doing as weapons to use against myself if I don’t do them – which is something I definitely need to work on. Anyways, my point is, we should ALWAYS find time to do the things we love. Yes, those things can also be work but it’s okay to separate the two. It really sucks losing touch with something you love doing, so if you’ve found your thing, KEEP DOING YOU!

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Learning

In today’s society, there’s so much pressure on graduating from university and diving head first into your dream career like there’s some kind of cut off point. There isn’t. Not only is that unrealistic, funnily enough, you can actually carry on learning beyond your early twenties. SHOCKER – and uni isn’t the only way to do it. This rush to become ‘educated’ isn’t helpful for those who’ve had to take a less conventional route into higher education. In September, I start the first year of my foundation degree, I’ll be one year behind my high school peers – which is fine. Everyone progresses at their own pace, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend months feeling like a failure because of this. Also, it’s important to remember that a degree doesn’t count for the entirety of a person’s knowledge. I’ve learnt so much from experiences good and bad outside of the typical academic environment – and I’ve grown into a much stronger person because of them. Knowing what I know now, I see the world, society and myself in a totally different way – a way I feel I wouldn’t if I hadn’t experienced what I have. I think that’s what life is about. Learning, growing at YOUR pace and recognising achievements big, small and everything in between.

Growth

One thing I’ve learnt in my eighteen years of being on this planet is that we’re all a work in progress. It’s OKAY to not be the same person you were a year ago or even last week. People change; I used to think this was a bad thing (and perhaps it can be), but if 16-year-old me could have met the person she’d be in two years time, I think she would’ve been pretty excited. I’m constantly discovering new things and bettering myself as a person – and I’m even beginning to love the person I’ve become.

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Making your voice heard

Back in May, I went to my first ever Pride and I still have no words to describe how liberating it was. Seeing so many people from different cultures and backgrounds come together to fight for one thing. It was beautiful. And I was so proud to be part of it. In a world where there’s so much hate, I think it’s important to spread a little love and do something good. Speak for those whose voices can’t be heard; whether that’s fighting for human rights, the LGBTQ+ community, equality, the environment, animal rights or attending political marches and protests – we all have a voice which can influence positive change.

So I guess this is the end of my pep talk. I hope you’re not struggling with an existential crisis or comparison right now, but if you are, hopefully this gave you some food for thought. I feel very lucky because throughout all of my experiences, both good and bad, I have learned so much; which has lead me to realise what really matters.

A few things that are on my mind…

Hello! For those of you who follow me on other social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, you’ll probably know that I upload my fair share of ‘bad brain day’ posts – which I have no shame in admitting. I’m a huge advocate for discussing Mental Health online and anything else that’s on my mind, so I figured I’d do just that.

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Being stuck in the past

I’m a sucker for getting caught up in the past. I feel stuck. I crave closure from things that happened years ago, especially where high school is concerned. I remember spending my primary school years dreaming about being one of the older kids, I thought they were so cool, I idolised them and I couldn’t wait for my turn to come – little did I know, being one of the older kids wasn’t as fun as it seemed. My first year of high school is a bit of a blur, probably due to the hefty amount of ‘independent learning’ (aka homework), that fried my brain – but I got through it.

When the second year of high school commenced, that’s when things changed. I became mentally unwell which resulted in a slightly unconventional route to complete my education. I stopped attending mainstream school when I was fourteen due to various mental health difficulties; instead, I was referred to a specialised education unit for students with both physical and mental issues. I spent a year there before transferring to another school to give mainstream education another try – unfortunately, that didn’t work out either so I went back to the unit, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I quite liked it as I felt more comfortable there than either of the mainstream schools I’d attended. As much as I enjoyed it, there are a few things that still bother me – despite finishing high school over two years ago.

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I didn’t get to go to prom like a lot of my friends back at my old school – even though I technically remained a student there. I remember finishing my last exam and going straight home. I was the last person to leave the unit that day and suddenly, five years of education were over just like that. I had no closure. And don’t get me wrong, I got on great with the other students in the unit, we had some good times, but I also lost a lot of friends from both mainstream schools. I feel like I missed out on being a ‘normal’ teenager (if that even exists) and I’d do anything to give my teen years another go. Obviously, that’s not possible and I need to accept that, but I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t something I struggle with.

The struggle to live in the moment

If I’m not dwelling on the past, I’m probably worrying about the future – yep, you guessed it! Whether that be looking forward to it or dreading the unknown. I imagine future situations like birthdays and Christmases, I build them up in my head and I tell myself that I’ll enjoy them. I will be there; however, trying so hard usually results in me spacing out or disassociating completely. Perhaps the ‘perfect’ posts we see on Instagram are to blame? I wish I could enjoy and celebrate what should be ‘happy’ days like those people – but I can’t.

And like a lot of people, growing older terrifies me; I feel that in today’s society, there’s an increasing pressure to achieve your life goals before you reach your mid-twenties. Why?

The good old existential crisis

From time to time, my brain likes to think about the millions of people that walk this planet and in comparison, how small my existence is. I feel so easily replaceable. I wonder if I’ll ever discover who I am or what my purpose is in life; when I do get the occasional insight to who I think I want to be, I compare myself to others and convince myself that it’s a survival of the fittest – a fight I’ll never win. I’m aware these thoughts aren’t rational in the slightest but when my brain goes into ‘existential crisis mode’, it’s pretty hard to ignore.

I guess I just have to remember that even feeling the emotions that come with these thoughts is a good thing – it’s GOOD to feel! So in the meantime, I’ll accept these thoughts for what they are, which are essentially just thoughts and hope they pass soon enough.