Monday, 24 March 2014

How to Meditate

Image from The Radient Life

Meditation is the process of emptying your mind and finding calmness within, and with the modern hectic lifestyle it's often something that gets neglected. If you're reading this then you probably already have an interest in learning to meditate, but if you don't then keep reading! I truly believe there is a meditation technique for everyone, and if practised regularly it's not a choice you'll regret.

The basic premise is simple, find a comfortable position in a quiet environment where you won't be disturbed, and breathe. I alternate my technique, sometimes I prefer to count breaths up to 10, others, picture white light pouring through my body on inhales. There are a variety of different methods out there.

The point is that your mind will wander, it's natural and shouldn't be looked at as a 'failure' at all. But instead of engaging with the thoughts and experiencing floods of thoughts and emotions you should guide yourself back to your breathing (or whatever you are focussing on). It's really useful to be able to feel emotions rising from thoughts eg. 'Oh no I've got work to do' leading to anxiety and dread. And the dissociation from the thoughts can carry on into normal activities, making it easier to cope with anything that may cause unrest.

Timewise, I don't like to think about how long meditation should last. A few minutes is good for starting out, but only you will know when you feel calm. I have a 3 strikes rule, where I won't get up until the third time I think I'm ready. But you may feel uncomfortable and wish to finish immediately. The key thing is not to rush, you won't achieve calmness by wishing for it to come now now now!

Any questions?

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Monday, 3 March 2014

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

I've been reading tons lately, so prepare yourself for a barrage of book reviews! In my £30 WHSmith haul, I picked up The Great Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous work, the book is a gripping story of love, full of hidden meanings and subtle nods to other great literary pieces. 

I'm sure we all know the basic story, pretty much everyone and their cat has either read the book or watched the movie adaption. Gatsby loves Daisy, or rather the idea of Daisy which he's engraved into his mind after years of separation. Daisy moved on, and settled into her role as an affluent housewife with a subdued social life. Gatsby can offer her the world and more with his wealth, but he asks too much of her, and she simply cannot admit that she never loved her husband Tom. Then the world comes crashing down around them after Daisy accidentally kills a woman-Tom's lover no less-and Gatsby leaves the world as he entered, with no true friends or substance. Only Nick remains, with a bitter view of the society that raised Gatsby to his pedestal; they've all moved on to the next party. 

Personally, my favourite scenes were the decadent parties. I sort of wish I'd read the book first and formed my own picture of the happenings, I couldn't for the life of my imagine it any different to the movie scenes. I suppose it ignites the desires to be a part of that culture, I don't believe anyone could read that chapter and not wish they were in the middle of it. Thoroughly recommend reading this, I know I'll be picking it up again! 

“Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can!” 

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Saturday, 22 February 2014

A Sober Experience

Last night I did the unexpected and decided to be taxi for the night while my friends and I went out on the town. I've been promising myself to do this for a while, alcohol is definitely not my ally, and I'm no stranger to waking up with thoughts clouded by regrets and anxiety over the ever ominous question: "What happened last night?"

Once I'd gotten over the self consciousness at pre-drinks, I started to let loose and just enjoy myself. Energy drinks didn't help, the caffeine just give me the shakes and then I felt spaced out. But we trooped on, and on, til 4am.

Pro: Getting to watch everyone elses little drunken quirks. 
Con: In a group of 5 drunken girls, there is a toilet/drinks break at least every 15 minutes.

Pro: Didn't lose any of my things!
Con: Urge to check my belongings incessantly.

Pro: Having unclouded vision to pull guys that are actuall good looking. 
Con: Without alcohol it's much harder to make any moves! No dutch courage here.

Pro: Being in control of my own actions. 
Con: Not being in control of anyone elses, hello wet shirts, shoes, hair, the lot!

Pro: Feeling amazing and fresh at 3am while everyone else is throwing up.
Con: Too many guys pawing at you, which normally a vodka jacket would shield.

Pro: Spending less on alcohol, more on parmo. 
Con: None.

Con: Still shaky and fuzzy from lack of sleep.

Altogether, I had an awesome night. I proved to myself that you don't need alcohol to have a good night, and I'd thoroughly recommend anyone to try it. Have you had a similar experience? 

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

How to Turn Bad Moods Around

I've been thinking a lot recently about life, which is quite a dangerous thing to do. My mood is very much up and down, black and white, so I journalled about this. It's unnatural to be happy 100% of the time, but these ideas help me get through rough patches: 

Step outside of your situation. Sometimes it's easy to get stuck in a rut, whether that be a relationship rut, work, or creative. God knows I've spent far too many hours looking at the screen waiting for creativity to strike, and it doesn't work! So escape, do something different like read something you wouldn't normally read, or visit a museum/art gallery. Don't look for inspiration, but be aware that it might strike at any moment and then act upon it straight away.

Don't be dramatic. This is definitely easier said than done, and I experience this all of the time with my all or nothing thoughts, but it's easy to blow things out of proportion. Whether that be eating too many cookies in one sitting (you won't gain 5lbs), or not doing too well in a test, things can be fixed without the world ending. Be grateful for what you have, but be aware that;

Nothing is permanent. People, places, emotions, everything comes to a peak and then it's gone. Life is full of ups and downs, as much as we'd all love for every aspect of life to be at 100% 24/7, it just doesn't happen that way.

Following on from the last point; go with the flow, let what will be be. If that boy you really like isn't talking to you anymore, that's okay! You were a whole person before you met them and you'll be a whole person without them. You just have to let go and move on. If you failed that exam you thought you'd studied so hard for, you can resit. And learn that maybe that revision technique didn't work for you!

Life goes on, and it's all about perspective.

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Thursday, 6 February 2014

Garnier 5 Second Perfect Blur Primer

Which side has the primer on?

It seems I'm going primer crazy recently, and with good reason; there's literally a primer out there for any concern you have. Colour problems? Clinique got you covered. Want to look more radiant? Check out Revlon PhotoReady SkinLights. Want a great all round primer to help your makeup last longer? Read on.

I've never been a huge Garnier fan, I find them to get a little lost in the field of beauty and skincare. But I spotted this primer in the skincare section and due to my beloved Arbonne Primer pretty much running dry, I thought I'd give it a go. First things first, ignore the name. It certainly does not take only 5 seconds to apply this primer. 5 seconds per area of face maybe. Now that's out of the way, I actually really like this primer. The consistency is a bit like a lumpy mousse when you first squeeze it out of the tube, but it glides on brilliantly. It is silicone based, so naturally you'd expect the gliding, but what I like so much about this is the mattifying effects. 

In the photos above I've used it on the right side of my face (left side on the photos!) and you can see how less shiny it's made my skin. Although I have normal/dry skin, I sometimes find that the moisturisers I use to keep my skin hydrated lead me to look a bit greasy and shiny. But this primer completely does away with that concern, without going to the opposite end of the spectrum and looking powdery. Awesome!

I don't have loads of huge pores, but I can certainly notice a difference to my forehead up close in a mirror. It's the same for fine lines/wrinkles, I'm not quite at that point yet (I hope!) to worry about the visibility of these things, but I'd imagine that this product would help somewhat. I definitely agree that it makes my makeup last longer. I also find that makeup is more pliable and blendable on my skin so I end up using less, bonus.

Overall I am pleased with this product, I think it'll last me a long time. And although I wouldn't pay full price (£12.99) for it, I'd definitely purchase again if it came on an offer. It's currently £8.66 at Superdrug if you're thinking about buying!

What is your favourite primer? Would you like to see a primer round up post?

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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Illamasqua Skin Base Lift - White Light

White Light on the left cheek bone, no makeup on the right.

I'm sure we've all seen the Kardashian style of contouring; using a concealer that's a few shades lighter than your skintone as a highlighter, and vice versa for contour. I was determined to replicate the look, but what should have been an easy find took me nearly 2 months. I've looked at every makeup stand and wasted money on a product that really wasn't suitable, but in the end I've found the most amazing matte highlighter for pale skin. Not a hint of glitterIllamasqua Skin Base Lift is a brightening concealer and White Light is simply perfect! 

Don't be put off by the stark white in the pan, once on the skin and blended, this does exactly what it says on the tin and lifts the skin tone a few shades lighter. The formula is great, it's pretty solid but warms up easily under fingertips to a buttery consistency. I normally pat it onto the areas I want to bring out (cheek bones, bridge of nose, forehead, cupids bow, etc) then use my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush/Beauty Blender Dupe to blend it in. The product works brilliantly without a primer, but if you have fine lines you may want to use one. I'd always set this with a loose powder, because of the nature of a solid concealer it can transfer easily. With this routine the effect lasts throughout the night, until I take it off!

Obviously this is quite a heavy look, I wouldn't recommend using a heavy duty concealer every day because you'll suffocate your skin, but I use this before heading out on the town to fool everyone into thinking I have an amazing bone structure. It costs £16, but if you are a student then buy on asos to get that cheeky student discount too! I'd thoroughly recommend this if you are pale skinned, I don't seem to be running out anytime soon but I'll definitely be repurchasing. Search over.

I'll be posting a full contour routine soon so follow me to keep up to date!

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Saturday, 1 February 2014

Recent Purchases and Good News

I got my new debit card in the post yesterday, and truly christened it. Well I had to make sure it worked didn't I? A few of these items were bought a few weeks ago, but I haven't done a haul post in forever. I think I'm most excited to try the MAC false lashes and Body Shop Hair Chalk. The sales assistant in the shop tried it on me and it seems really pigmented! 

Already I'm disappointed with a few things. Stupidly I didn't try the Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer on my face and I thought I'd be alright with the lightest shade but I think it's a tad too dark. And I bought the Clinique Superprimer for Redness, but the girl actually put the universal one in my bag so I'm going to have to return that! 

In other news, last night my gran received a phone call from the club I was at on Saturday saying my bag was in their lost property! And apparently everything is inside! I'm going to pick that up later, but I actually can't believe it, I must be the luckiest girl that someone did actually hand it in. I can't wait to be reunited with my phone, but I think I'll carry the lessons with me for a long time to come.

Have you made any new purchases recently? Which are you most excited to hear about?

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