Tuesday, 29 September 2015

A Day of Culture.

Hello again. Today I thought I'd share some photos I took yesterday and tell you a little bit about my day. Me and my sister are applying for creative undergraduate degrees in the next year, so to prepare ourselves we've been visiting Universities, Galleries and other events that will help inform us about our choices and the subjects we are interested in. So yesterday we decided to get on a train to Liverpool and explore the galleries and museums there in the time we had. 

We first went to the Walker Gallery which I really recommend having a look around. They have a really interesting exhibition on at the moment called Reality and also one showing prize winners which includes a painting by David Hockney and a piece by Claude Heath. We also had a look around the Tate Liverpool and even though we didn't pay to visit the Jackson Pollock exhibition, which everyone in the art world seems obsessed over at the moment, we looked around an exhibition of work by Geta Bratescu which I found really inspiring. There is also the Constellations display at the Tate Liverpool which has some amazing pieces scattered around the two floors, including a painting by Renoir, photography by Wolfgang Tillmans and plenty of sculptures including works by Man Ray and Louise Bourjeois.

We also explored the Museum of Liverpool and The International Slavery Museum. So yes we did pack a lot into our day but we still had a chance to relax and eat some food in the evening before we caught a train home. We also tried bubble tea for the first time which was very strange, it tasted nice and reminded me of chocolate soya milk, but we tried this coconut jelly in it as you could pick a topping which ended up being these weird squishy lumps that you'd have to eat with every sip of your drink. 

Peter Getting Out of Nick's Pool // David Hockney

Untitled (Yellow Ochre) // Fiona Rae

Buying sweets for the train journey home

We had such a lovely day in Liverpool and luckily the weather was great too. If you'd like to see more of my photography click here to visit my Flickr page. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Anxiety: A Late Night Chat.

The time is currently quarter past ten in the evening and I'm sat on my bed surrounded by makeup, hair products, my straighteners and a hairdryer, writing out this post on my laptop. The reason I'm telling you all of this is because I am also sat with a full face of makeup, my hair is done up all nice and I'm wearing a very fancy romper I bought especially for this night. If you haven't guessed by now I should be out with my friends at this very moment. In fact I was out, I shared the most bland pizza from Pizza Hut and I also went to a pub for some drinks as it's my friends birthday in a couple of days. 

I've just got home and you are probably thinking that quarter past ten is a very early time for someone my age to come back from a pub and I have to agree for the most part that you're right. The reason I'm writing this post is to get a few things off my chest, I don't normally get overly personal with you on this blog but today I want to briefly talk about my experience with anxiety. I've actually tried writing about having anxiety many times for you all, but I can never find the right words to talk about it and I always feel like I should be more helpful with my words and I honestly just can't be, because I'm not really getting any better. 

There is a hell of a lot of pressure at this age to do certain things. They mainly involve going out drinking, going to university, getting a job, you get the idea it's all about growing up and being adventurous and independent. The thing is that this pressure changes people because they decide to become the type of person they are being pressured to be, or become the adult they want to be to put it nicely. For me personally I can't physically let pressures surrounding social situations get the better of me, having anxiety means that like tonight for example the noise level and amount of people packed into a pub was just too much for me and I had to go home. And to be honest as much as I try to say I'm not the type of person to go clubbing or drinking anyway, it still makes me feel crap that I can't even be in a Wetherspoons when it's busy, especially when my friends are all suggesting we do shots and go clubbing. 

I was walking down my darkened high street earlier on my way to catch a bus home, looking around at all the closed shops and I was thinking about the way I am. It's really depressing to write out but I was thinking about how I would be if I didn't have anxiety, if I didn't feel stressed all of the time. And to be honest although I thought about that for a while, I'm at a point now where I can remove myself from a situation, take a deep breath and tell myself that this is just how things are. It's like when your bus is late and you know you're going to be late for something, there's no point in getting worked up about it because there is nothing you can do, and that's the thing with a mental illness, it's out of your control. So although you may not like the way it's affecting your life, in terms of what you can't do or how you do something, there's not a lot you can get out of feeling miserable about it. That being said it is perfectly understandable to not like how you are, or the way you went about something because of a mental illness, heck I feel pretty shitty right now because I feel like the people I was with must think I'm so boring for leaving so soon.

However if your friends do make you feel rubbish because of something that is out of your control, then they are not good friends. I took control of how stressed I was feeling and I told my friends I needed to leave because I was not comfortable. Good friends are understanding and don't judge you, I feel lucky that mine were fine with me leaving and told me not to worry and to get home safely. 

Living with a mental illness is a hard thing to do. I feel like despite our society's progression with things like gay marriage, mental illness is still something that isn't treated very well as a whole. The NHS for example here in the UK still do not treat mental illnesses with anywhere near the same degree of seriousness as physical illnesses, for example it took someone I know a year to be seen by a psychiatrist and who knows what they could of done because of their mental health in that time. There is also an issue with stigmatisation and also with self diagnosis with the general public. It's almost like the more people are open about mental illnesses, the more people are sceptical of whether people actually suffer from them or not. 

When someone is brave enough to tell someone they are suffering from depression for example, a very common response to that is for people to ask whether that person has actually been diagnosed or not, even though I'm sure we can all agree that for everyone a diagnosis isn't even particularly necessary or something a person may be comfortable with. I find it so frustrating the amount of people who lack empathy and understanding towards those suffering from mental illnesses, it doesn't even matter if they know you have a mental illness or not, you shouldn't even have to tell someone you have anxiety or whatever you suffer from, if you aren't comfortable doing something then you shouldn't feel judged for having to take yourself out of a situation.

I have to admit that this post has been very spontaneous and I hope my points have come across correctly. I would like to plan a post like this in future and be more constructive, tonight has just been one of those nights where I've needed to just sit down with my laptop and let my feelings out. I haven't particularly had the worst experience with my anxiety tonight and fortunately I didn't have a panic attack. I just got thinking today about those experiences I've had where people haven't been understanding towards me and have made me feel so miserable because of something I can't help having. 

If you take anything away from this post I just want you to know that people who judge you because of the way a mental illness is affecting you don't deserve your time, and like I said if you can't control something like having anxiety just remember that it is just the way things are and that's ok. It's better to be in control of something that by definition you can't control then make yourself miserable trying to pretend it doesn't exist. Forgive me if it's coming across like I lack any kind of empathy but what I'm getting at is that it is better to leave a situation that is stressing you out, then stay and become miserable or even have a panic attack. I know that this doesn't apply to all mental illnesses but from someone with anxiety's point of view that is the only advice I can really give.

Thanks for reading, remember if a mental illness is getting too much for you, talk to someone who will be empathetic and maybe even talk to your GP about any possible treatments. Like I said it's better to take control in some way then let it get you down xx 

Friday, 18 September 2015

An Afternoon At The Botanical Gardens // Video.

Today I'm very excited as I have another video to share with you all! Remember that post from a couple of weeks back, where I shared some photos I took when me and my sister spent the afternoon in the botanical gardens. Well I also recorded some video footage from our afternoon and I'm finally happy with the result. I'm quite pleased with myself that I've been able to keep going with making videos even if I don't feel like they're always good enough to share with you all. I have a few ideas for videos that aren't just a recording of a day out etc, but I'm a massive perfectionist so who knows if they'll ever greet your screens.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate any support you beauties give me, even if it's just by clicking on this post and giving me time in your day x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Daily Base.

Hello again folks, today I am back with another beauty post for you all. As I am back at college now I've been slightly more minimal with my makeup as I've been getting up at 7:00 most mornings. However my skin is always a problem for me so I always make sure to conceal my blemish ridden skin and use powder before I leave the house in the mornings. So today I thought I would share my current base routine with you all, including all the products and brushes I use. For me personally makeup is something that makes me feel more confident when I leave the house in the mornings, I am in no way saying you need to wear this much makeup on your face everyday, I just wanted to share what I use for those who are interested. 

Foundation // First of all I use my favourite drugstore foundation which is the Revlon Colourstay Foundation and I use the one for oily/combination skin. The reasons I love this product are because it lasts really well, which most foundations just don't seem to on me, it also has good coverage for my blemishes and controls oil pretty well without looking cakey on my face. I apply this foundation using the amazing Real Techniques Buffing Brush, and then I use the Real Techniques stippling brush just to make sure it's blended really well on my face. 

Concealer // So I'm going to be honest here and let you know that I usually don't bother with concealer because the coverage on my foundation is usually enough for just a casual day at college. However if I've not slept well or I have a particularly problematic blemish then I will use some of the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer which is great for coverage. I usually apply the product using my ring finger which I use to blend the product into my skin, or if I'm feeling lazy I will just use my stippling brush to blend the concealer in. 

Powder // This is the one thing I rotate quite regularly in my base routine, but currently I've been trying out the Revlon Photoready Powder which I actually quite like. It offers an extra bit of coverage without looking cakey and controls oil well. I use my Eco Tools Retractable Kabuki brush to apply powder which I've had for ages now, but it's just so soft and is a nice smaller brush which I prefer for applying powder.

And that is everything I use for my base, thanks for reading. Comment below what products you use!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

7 Things To Start Doing Now I'm A Young Adult.

For those of you who do not know (which will most likely be the majority of you) I will be twenty soon, and although I am still in college thanks to my indecisiveness, I am technically a young adult. I suddenly realised this whilst out with a few friends the other day. It was mostly people I had either been to school with or college with two years ago, so the slightly more mature topics of conversation I was having with these people that I remember joking around with a few years back was a bit surreal, and it made me realise how quickly the past few years have gone. 

I think for me I notice the disappearing of my adolescence most, on days where I have nothing specific to do. As when I was younger having a free day was great and I easily felt so happy just doing nothing and relaxing. However now I'm older doing nothing all day is weirdly stressful, I feel like I should be contributing to my future by any means necessary. This may be down to the fact that I am an incredibly stressful person anyway, however things do get pretty serious at this point in your life. In my mind I should be at university right now, so still being at college means I feel like I'm more relaxed than I should be on the daily and that I'm falling behind in some way with my future goals.

But anyhow I gave this post a specific title for a reason, and that is because now I'm at this age I wanted to share a few things that I want to start doing now I'm at the beginning of my adult life. This post has a bit of a Bridget Jones vibe to it, but I genuinely think doing these things is going to keep me busy, motivated and more fulfilled in the coming years. This list is obviously more of a personal thing than advice today, but feel free to share anything in the comments such as your own little list or anything you can suggest to me if you are older than me. So lets get into it!

1. Cook

I already cook quite a few meals for me and my sister, however they mostly consist of pizza and pasta which doesn't take a lot of skill. The thought of University and having to cook meals for groups when I get older means I really want to take advantage of the time I have now to add an array of interesting recipes to my repertoire. I've already made accounts on websites such as BBC Good Food and have saved a bunch of recipes that I'm really excited to try. My current goals are to make a healthy but delicious curry from scratch and to try a more exotic seafood recipe.

2. Exercise

In the past few years I've found myself getting less active with the exception of short periods of dieting and fitness. I'm at a stage with my weight now where I simply want to focus on being healthy and fitter, rather than obsessing over calories and sizes. I don't mind being a bigger girl anymore but I am determined to get into a habit of exercising and enjoying it, because if anything I'd like to be fairly toned and be able to walk up these hills in Sheffield with ease. So far I've hooked my bike up to one of those trainers in my kitchen so I have an exercise bike for the colder months, and I also want to take more advantage of being right next to the Peak District, which means impromptu bus and train journeys out into Derbyshire for walks and photography sessions!

3. Read

For most people this isn't something they need to remind themselves to do, but honestly I've always found it really hard to get into books. I read blogs of course and plenty of online articles and one I came across the other day was talking about the importance of reading and how it can make a huge difference with your education and working life. So of course I couldn't ignore it and I've actually found a book for me! I've realised that my problem with reading in the past was that I always went for fiction, I'm a really visual person so I guess if I'm going to get immersed in a story it's most likely going to be on a screen. So I've come across a non fiction book called After Photography by Fred Ritchin that I'm already a third of the way through. Filling up bus journeys with reading and doing further reading into subjects I'm interested in is something I wish I'd thought about doing sooner.

4. Continue my passions outside of College/Uni/Work

So this is continuing from my last goal slightly but for me personally with photography I never want to feel limited to taking photos, learning about the subject and perusing projects solely for my educational commitments, or to fulfil a client's needs etc (slightly ambitious I know). Even now with coursework looming I want to do my own exploration and reading on my subject of interest. Even if your passion is more academic, I think this can apply to you too in terms of reading, checking current issues and news relating to your subject and even writing about it and sharing your opinions through blogs and forums online. I think even at a work/academic level continuing your interests for purely personal and recreational reasons will benefit you massively.

5. Make An Effort To Stay In Contact With Friends

Coming from a 19 year old this may seem a bit strange but recently I've felt the need to go for drinks and catch up with friends from back in secondary school and other colleges I've been to. Not everyone is going to want to do this but I do think for me it's nice to keep in contact with people I have memories with and do fun things with them every now and again. I am by no means a socialite or in desperate need of expanding my social circle, but I do think it's going to be nice to still be in contact with a few people from school/college when I get older. 

6. Eat More Fruit and Vegetables + Look After My Skin

I've decided to put these two together because I think they fall under the same category of 'looking after myself more'. I think in the latter half of your teens it can be very easy to go wild with being fully responsible for what you eat, I'm talking lots of fast food with friends and taking advantage of way too many deals on crisps and chocolate at your local shop. Maybe I'm generalising slightly here but personally I've been feeling the need to bring fruit and veg back into my diet in a major way and I've also been making sure to drink plenty of water which I always used to forget to do. I also have been terrible at sticking to a skincare routine in my teens, especially when it comes to taking off my makeup at night which could explain a lot of my skin woes in teen years. I think older me will appreciate making more effort in these departments, and when it comes to eating healthier food I think I'll be best restricting the less healthy foods for when I'm out with friends.

7. Become an Organised Person

One thing I really want to get into the habit of doing is using calendars properly and planning my days in diaries. Time management is something I've been pretty bad at in my teens especially when it comes to academic work. So now I'm thinking of heading to University and getting a job I think now is a great time to start getting organised.

And that's everything I have for now. I apologise for this being quite a lengthy read but I guess I really wanted to justify everything for myself and your lovely selves. If you have any suggestions for my list be sure to comment then below. Thanks for reading, have a great day.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

College Advice.

As many of you will know the academic year is about to recommence. Last year I shared some back to school advice with you, but now that I've been to three different colleges I feel very equipped to give out a little college advice, to those of you who will be starting college or sixth form this year.

For me personally the whole college experience has been a very stressful and confusing time for me. Personally I started at my first college doing A levels that mainly weren't what I thought they were going to be. I then went on to do a BTEC course which made me realise exactly what I want to do with my life, and it isn't IT. Now that I'm about to go into my final year of college I finally feel comfortable with where I'm at with my education, but I've learnt a fair amount along the way to help debrief anyone in the world of level 3 studies and to advise you on how to survive your college experience.

It's ok not knowing exactly what you want to do with your life. College is a time where some people will be dead set on a career goal and others will feel lost. It's hard because there is so much pressure in regards to university applications, to know exactly what you want to do with your future. Booking a meeting with your college's careers adviser is a really useful thing to do, another is to do personality quizzes online and work out why you've chosen the subjects you have, what your strengths are and what other subjects might interest you that you've never thought of. Something you could also try is getting some work experience on your breaks in a job role that interests you. Going out of your way like this will also look great on your personal statement, should you apply to university.

You can't wing A Levels! Remember when you did your GCSEs and you didn't need to revise too much to do ok. Well A Levels aren't like that, if you don't revise (or put effort into your coursework) you won't do well. And this also goes for your AS exams, as if you don't pass them your college will most likely not let you come back to do your second year. 

Study smart... and hard. When you go into a lesson at college or sixth form you need to make sure you're taking notes. And not just brief notes, you need to be writing down everything that's relevant to what you're studying because your teacher will most likely not go over it again and going through A level text books is not fun. Make life easier for yourself by putting your notes into your own words either in lesson or soon after, so that when you go back to them (which could be a few months later) you'll understand what you've written.

One thing I wish I'd committed to and I advise you to, is to type up all of your notes or organise them neatly from your lessons at the end of every week. This will help you organise and summarise your notes, it also means you won't have tonnes of sheets of paper filling up your bag because you'll be able to condense all of the useful information down. I used to do this with my business notes and I'd look through textbooks and online resources to look for other information I could add to topic, this will also help you absorb your notes better for when exam season comes around.

Secondary school friendships don't always last. When you get to your new college/sixth form, your friends from secondary school may or may not be coming to the same place as you, and even if they do they may still make different friends in their classes. This was something I found really hard when I first went to college, the friends that came with me weren't my closest friends and they quickly found their own groups. I found it really upsetting and it really got me down to tell you the truth as my best friends were also off with their own new friends at their colleges. I have social anxiety so I've really struggled with social situations at my colleges and meeting new people. At my first college I genuinely made zero friends and it really affected how stressful I found going to college and just being a part of the college environment. Whereas at my second college I made friends, and now at my third college (I know, I know it's so strange) I have one solid friend and honestly I'm fine with that. 

It's just one of those things you'll have to deal with as it happens because if you can't make any effort because you're two scared or whatever on the first few days, you might not find yourself fitting into any kind of social group at your college. Just remember you still have your old friends and they will still want to talk to you if you make the effort, and honestly if you make the most out of your situation it could be quite handy to not have all that distraction during your studies. I really wish I'd not let it affect me so much at my first college, but now I'm at my third college I love being able to spend more time focusing on my studies (yes I'm such a nerd).

The teachers/teaching at college is going to be a lot different to what you're used to. If you're going to a sixth form then it may just be like secondary school (I don't really know), but at college the whole teaching styles and attitudes are going to shock you a little. Yes college is about being independent and looking after yourself as far as time management and commitment to your studies is concerned, but don't be surprised if you feel a lack of empathy from your teachers. Like I said it's not like secondary school where you have a form tutor who holds your hand through your experience right until you leave, form tutors at college nag you more than anything. I'm not saying this because I was a bad student because I'm not, but other than a mandatory one to one session every few months your tutor may only talk to you one on one to moan about your attendance, or discuss your slightly lower than expected grade. 

That being said, if you have any problems do talk to your teachers. There is nothing worse then bottling up your stresses especially about the way your teachers are teaching you because you'll only be annoyed you didn't say anything sooner. For example I had a horrific graphics design teacher last year who put my class with a fine art class, we ended up doing art for ages before we switched back to graphics and I knew within the first week that I wasn't going to like being taught by this woman. But for some reason I was too anxious to ask my form tutor to switch subjects and by December I decided to quit graphics because my teacher was refusing to teach us (you'll be happy to know she's recently been fired). It frustrates me because I would have loved to have switched to film studies, but I missed my chance. 

But if you do have any problems, don't let teachers try to ignore them when you tell them or patronise you for asking them about anything. It's your education and if you have a problem it is their job to deal with it because the money they get for you being there is to accommodate you and give you a decent and fulfilling education. I remember a form tutor at my first college who kept trying to talk me out of dropping geography, he kept trying to convince me that I was just getting stressed because I wasn't getting "top grades" and I ended up being miserable for months about doing a subject my teacher was making me hate. I always wish I'd stood up to that teacher straight away and had been assertive about dropping that subject, because eventually my Dad had to go into college and get it sorted for me.

I hope this advice helped any of you who are going back to or starting college this year. If there's anything you're worried about or you have any burning questions be sure to comment below and I'll be happy to help you. Thanks for reading x