A Peek at my Skincare Diary #1: Short and Sweet

Gasp! A Saturday post? Yeah, I forgot to schedule some new posts whilst I was panicking over an essay. I have some time to get some posts up and scheduled now, though, so you all have something to read while I am contemplating the inner workings of the mind for my degree!

I initially planned to start this series two months ago, around the time of year I share my skincare wardrobe. Instead of presenting it all as a giant wardrobe last year, I thought it would be interesting to keep a diary and record what I was using on a day-to-day basis. But then I suddenly stopped taking care of my skin, going nights without bothering with a moisturiser, although I could never forgo my thick layer of lip balm. But it meant I stopped keeping track of my skin using my diary, too.

So very slowly, I’ve been reintroducing my skincare routine based on what I am feeling. I’m not sure how long it will last seeing as my exams are really quite fast approaching and I habitually tend to wreck my sleeping and skincare around that time…

But anyway, here’s what I have been reaching for when I actually did bother with basic self-care.

Morning

Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum

After using this in the morning for at least a year now, I think I am finally using up the last of it! This has an oily but also gel-like texture that’s quite unusual, but I do like it as I want something thin that won’t interfere with my lipstick. It’s only £2.49 from Holland and Barratt, too. I wear it in the morning as soon as I have washed my face, and it stays on mostly until I get to the lipstick stage, when I press it off a bit with the back of my hand before applying lipstick. Of course, the smell will take some getting used to if you’ve never used hemp before – it can be a little unpleasant.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Emulsion

I think this is actually the first emulsion type product I have tried, and I really like it. It’s most similar to the Western ‘lotion’ although not quite the same thing to me. It’s basically a light moisturiser and sinks in super well which is great in the mornings when I need to layer sunscreen and makeup on top without pilling but also don’t want my skin to be too dry.

I’ve been meaning to write a full review for ages but now I realise there’s not much to say! I’ve been using this for months and I’m only halfway through the bottle, but I will finish this up. I probably won’t repurchase it in favour of something with more ‘wow’ to it.

Kose Suncut Aqualy UV Protect Gel SPF50+ PA++++|Full Review Here

Something about this sunscreen texture is super pleasant so I never shy from reaching for this. It also works really nicely under makeup without pilling which I am very grateful for. However, if oil is a major problem for you then this might not be the best option at all. I really liked using this over the last winter (I just… accepted my oiliness haha) although admittedly I didn’t wear sunscreen every day… I’ll look at other options because I’m a blogger, after all, but this will definitely be repurchased in the future. It’s been over a year of sporadic use and I’m finally getting to the last quarter of the bottle.

Evening

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser| Review Here

A very gentle and pleasant cleanser! For days of light makeup only. It will also make a good attempt at non-waterproof mascaras without stinging the eyes at all which is a nice bonus, and the rose smell is lovely. I actually don’t have many rose-scented products – for some reason the M&S body product sets that haunted my childhood come to mind – but maybe that can change! My only gripe is the price for the amount but honestly, for this lovely of a cleanser, I would not mind repurchasing it anyway.

Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream

Again, this eye cream actually isn’t anything special. But I’m twenty and only looking for a standard eye cream that isn’t too rich or too thin, and it doesn’t need to have anti-ageing ingredients at this stage. This is actually the perfect consistency – sort of buttery but not greasy at all – and the scent is actually quite minimal. All that means this is super pleasant to use for me and I’d happily buy it to use again. I’ve almost reached the bottom of my tub which means I need to stop buying new emulsions and essences and buy a new eye cream!! Any suggestions for products with a similar consistency?

COSRX AHA Whitehead Power Liquid

As I often lost track of my routine I have erred on the safe side and avoided my acids. I’m trying to reintroduce it starting weekly but even that is kind of a struggle at the moment! Besides the slightly funky smell which I am sort of used to now, there’s not much to say thus far.

Lanolips 101 Ointment|Review here

Dr Pawpaw Original Balm|Review here

One of my favourite combinations recently. I like to use a thin layer of Lanolips before applying a thick layer of Dr PawPaw, which makes my lips super soft in the morning and easy to exfoliate or even just wipe away the dead skin after morning cleansing. Both are slightly pricier options for lip balm and the PawPaw I feel could easily be replaced with Vaseline or Carmex. As you can see, I currently prefer products in tubes, even over stick-type products.

Overall, this routine takes less than ten minutes out of my morning and evening, and hopefully I can build it up a bit more over the next few months without going too heavy as the summer approaches.

I hope you enjoyed this snippet of skincare and hopefully, as this project develops, we’ll be able to see how my skincare routine evolves and adapts to change to all the seasons!

Until next time,

X

Review: NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Chocolate Crepe

Hi everyone!

It’s no secret that I have been loving glossy finishes as of late, so instead of rambling about it, let’s get straight to the snap review.

This was a birthday gift from my friend AT earlier in the year, swiped from my wishlist. I had tried the regular Butter Gloss in Praline, and it was great for a practically-clear gloss with minimal colour. I love layering it on top of nude lipsticks. But as you all know, my true love of glossies lies with really pigmented lacquers and stuff, so the intense version was on my radar.

The NYX Intense Butter Gloss costs £6.00 in the UK and is available at counters in Boots and Debenhams, and online at FeelUnique.

When I first swatched it on my hand it seemed a bit too dark and too cool-brown like Maybelline’s Brown Sugar. It ended up being a super nice shade on my lips, though – a slight warm pinkiness to it. A bit deep, but a great everyday shade.

It’s quite lightweight but you can still feel it on your lips because of the texture. Of course, being a gloss I don’t expect it to last at all but it will survive at least four hours without eating and with small sips of water during my work shifts. It does bleed more noticeably which is understandable as there is more pigment. But overall it actually doesn’t bleed that much. A lip liner is all that’s needed if that’s an issue. The pigment doesn’t settle into lip creases either and, as expected, it’s quite forgiving on flaky lips although those are still noticeable.

Yes, it’s a little sticky and my hair flies into it when I’m darting between shops with my siblings. But it doesn’t all adhere to my hair at once which is a little plus, I guess?

I’ve been wearing this an awful lot. Out of all the choices in my rotation this month, this one has been the most worn so far. I’ve just been loving the fact that I can wear this all day and have my lips still be plush and lovely by the evening. My mom, just before the aforementioned shopping, even made a comment on how glossy and nice they looked (so much so that she wanted to bite them, which I acknowledge is weird but I took it as a compliment so…). BASICALLY. I love this stuff.

I might not buy it in any other shade, though. This is literally the only shade that appeals to me in a gloss, as it would be the most forgiving. Bolder colours in a glossy finish are intimidating to me, especially the thought of them bleeding or wearing much more obviously.

Overall, this is a winner for me. I can imagine myself re-buying this a lot and it fulfils my need for a pigmented gloss perfectly.

Until next time,

X


Days since I last bought a lipstick: 116

Quarterly Media Editorial: Winter 2018

Hi everyone!
I hope you’ve all had a nice Easter. Spring has properly landed (or at least, this is as much as we are gonna get in the UK) and we are a quarter of the way into the year already, so it’s time for me to sum up my media consumption of the last few months in a handy blog post.
I thought that I should begin to include blogs and social media, perhaps. I have been wanting to do this for a while, but not sure where for now. I think it will be its own separate quarterly segment featuring small bloggers and influencers.
Here though, I’ll include my favourite ‘bigger’ YouTube channels, so to speak, because these days even channels with a moderate following can get buried so I hope that, as usual, reading this will help you discover something new.

Anime

Made in Abyss – A really cutely styled fantasy revolving around a seemingly bottomless pit called the Abyss. Well… it has surprisingly dark elements at times but that was kind of refreshing actually.
Spice and Wolf – with a medieval setting and an economically driven plot, Spice and Wolf was a surprising hit with me. The plot revolves around currency changes, of all things, which is not my strong point so I did have to get a friend to explain bits to me. Otherwise, there is a healthy splash of fantastical elements and overall, I really enjoyed this as something fresh and new.
Gurenn Lagann – We watched the movie at the anime society, which summed up the first half of the main televised series. I eventually got around to watching a bit of the anime myself as I really enjoyed the movie. It’s about humans fighting to live on Earth’s surface, using giant mechas, which didn’t sound like my kind of thing but was hugely enjoyable nevertheless. I actually enjoyed the movie more so far- whilst there were missing elements from the series skipped throughout, I much preferred the movie’s pace and I’m finding those parts of the series a little boring.

Films:

The only movie worth being in this section is Black Panther, to be honest. I’m not one to watch films in the cinema twice, usually, but to say this was fantastic would be a real understatement. I also watched The Greatest Showman and whilst I enjoyed it, it was missing that something to truly wow me.

Youtube:

I admit I don’t watch a lot of bloggertube, so to speak. I usually just stick to my favourite casual channels and watch whatever pops up on my recs, which often isn’t much.
Lisa Eldridge – With the rise of the ‘Insta glam’ makeup style I’ve really been craving more natural looks and overall simpler makeup. If you just want to learn the ins and outs of simple makeup, Lisa is the lady to go to. She has done magazine editorials, works for Lancome as Creative Director and also features other professional artists in the industry on her channel. Even from the most simple look, you can learn so much to apply to your own makeup.
Matilda – I am really enjoying Matilda’s video style which is completely her voice, over the products she mentions on a whiteboard – quite minimal! She does reviews of makeup and lip balms, and her videos are really short and sweet – a great appeal when I don’t want to sit through a twenty-minute video because I’d rather watch anime.

Music

As usual, here is a playlist containing all the songs in this Editorial! They’re all Korean. I did my best to sum up my favourite new listens of the last season although this doesn’t include the long phases of songs on repeat throughout.

I actually heard of Uhm Jung Hwa through her brother and niece being on Return of Superman. No way is she in her 50s. Excuse me while I google her skincare routine.
I’m still obsessed with LOONA, who have been so consistent in building up their Loonaverse with great music. I’m still left wondering – if all of this is only pre-debut stuff how blown away will I be by their official debut? My favourite member so far is Jinsoul with Chuu and Yves tied a close second and Kim Lip and ViVi tied for third!
These two songs have dominated the Korean charts over the last few months, so of course they’ve been played a lot! BOOM BOOM is fully elevated thanks to JooE in their live performances.
I admit I was quite skeptical of Ikon myself but this more chilled hip hop infused direction is probably their most popular style in Korea so it was a perfect choice to re-establish themselves after a long tour abroad.
Ko Ko Bop took more than half a year to properly grow on me and I completely slept on Rollin, but these two songs have had their moments on repeat whilst I did university assignments.

WJSN – Dreams Come True

This wouldn’t normally be my usual song style of choice (I tend to favour anything with a teen crush or not-cute concept) but I’ve slowly been getting into it. It was the performance of this song that truly got me, though. I love the point dances and how well dramatic the choreography is, especially Cheng Xiao’s chorus parts, the star point of Exy’s rap and the bridge/refrain. I know Secret is a popular favourite of their songs but I think I like this more.

Mamamoo – Starry Night
Got7 – Look
BoA – One Shot, Two Shot

Starry Night isn’t Mamamoo’s best, in my opinion, so I actually included it because the video is stunning and I love rewatching it. Got7’s Look, on the other hand, was okay at first but the dance really grew on me and the song soon after. One Shot, Two Shot is just plain catchy.

(Notable mentions are Havana, Cut to the Feeling, Like Paradise by Kriesha Chu, All Night by Long:D and Doyeon (of I.O.I and Weki Meki))

My music list changes so often throughout the months and even as I type, there are new releases from Olivia Hye of LOONA as well as WINNER (have you all SEEN Yoon’s hair, I died).

Check out some of my other music posts from the last few months:

Some Songs and an Attempt To Sum Up My Month

#Playlist: Ghosts

Until next time,

X

[Chatter] At Last, Let’s Talk About Depression.

I think over the last year or two I may have attempted to draft out this post four or five times. As I wrote this very first paragraph for this working draft, it was January of 2018. I knew I wanted to put this up eventually, and I felt like it was approaching the right time to do so. I also knew that I have always struggled to express the feelings (or lack of) in a proper way that feels like it’s doing my experience justice, so in order to get my words out on time, I started early.

Do feel free to grab some tea.

If you’re a friend I have directed to this post, it’s because I’m crap at explaining this in person or even over WhatsApp, especially when I’ve been caught off-guard on a Sunday evening. All this is just me talking about things I have always wanted to talk to you all about but never got the words right for. I hope none of you mind.

Here’s a Trigger Warning for Depression, Self-Harm and Suicide.

For a long time, I didn’t quite relate to the idea of needing a trigger warning (even if I understood the reason for it) but recently I have been feeling extra sensitive towards this topic myself. It’s not particularly graphic or anything, though. If you’re not sure whether to read on, I’d err on the side of caution and not continue.


Firstly, I may as well tell you what the symptoms of depression are. We can spot them together as I back-track through my life. Here it is, the DSM-5 criteria for a diagnosis of depression:

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either

  1. depressed mood or
  2. loss of interest or pleasure.

Note: Do not include symptoms that are clearly attributable to another medical condition.

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.
  • Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick).
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

B. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
C. The episode is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or to another medical condition.


The earliest recorded indication that I was depressed probably goes back to 2015 when I was still 17. In fact, it was on this blog because I had no other outlet. I’ve always written my honest thoughts on this blog, as bland as my life was, because it’s just not the same otherwise. To sort-of quote one of my old blog posts, pretending is draining. It’s the same reason that I love to share happy things with others and it’s for the same reason that I am a terrible liar.

So I was looking all the way to 2015, the first year of the blog and my first year of A-Levels (Y12), and life doesn’t seem bad. Mundane? Yes. Occasionally, I got angry, and I got stressed, but within what I thought were normal means for a student of Hell A-Levels. I went to work, I slept, I tried my best to manage everything and was failing. I was easily triggered, especially by my school reports, and I clung to my hobbies (and this blog) a lot as a means of coping.

My grades were suffering, and teachers were pulling me aside to ask me if anything was wrong. I said no because, at the time, I genuinely didn’t know. Some teachers thought I was just lazy and lacking effort (which I admit I agreed with). I mention Student Support briefly in this post from April 2015 from when I got sent there instead. They thought I was overworking myself and lacking in sleep (the latter being true). I didn’t feel this was the case as I simply was not getting anything done despite always being at my desk. I was stuck in this spiral of unproductivity, lack of sleep, and hating myself all in abundance. It was mostly hating myself, though.

For quite a while, I thought most of my issues were the fault of the school or the education system. Now, after lots of rational thinking, I don’t blame my school for my depression at all, because how could they have helped me out when I had no clue what was going on, mentally speaking, myself?

In October 2015 (the beginning of Y13 and my second year of A-Levels), I expressed a thought on this blog post about wanting to see the GP about my mental health. This means that I must have been thinking about it for quite a while, prior to that post going up. I had probably at least googled the symptoms and taken the quiz on the NHS site. Note the mental breakdowns (I think this means my negative emotions peaking and crying myself to sleep), and note the P.S. where I mention that I was finding it hard to concentrate. Yet at this point in time, I ended up not going to the GP about it.

I mentioned the breakdowns again in February 2016, talking about stupid school assessments, but this time more casually. I was getting the impression that this was a normal thing, that my feelings were not significant enough to seek help for and that this was part and parcel of being an A-Level student. My emotions were fluctuating, even then, but now it was so long ago I can’t really mention any specifics.

Later, I decided to include less of my feelings on the blog and more of what I was actually doing, so there’s not much there that shows what I was feeling until much later.

What I do remember, though, is that during that school year we studied depression as part of the abnormal psychology topic, and I distinctly remember the lesson on diagnostic criteria – looking at the list of symptoms on the board and thinking ‘all of that sounds like me.’

Anyway, I finished my last year of school, and my A-Levels went terribly (I say that, but I didn’t fail any) and I decided to take a gap year. Despite this, life was not particularly awful – in fact, it seemed like a lot of fun judging from past blog posts. Things seemed okay. I was beginning to branch out with what I was doing whilst making time for my hobbies and, well, widened my horizons a bit.


In the latter half of March 2017, I booked my first appointment with my GP for my mental health. I thought of having this post up on the 28th, a year since the date of my first appointment. It would be the first of quite a few that spring/summer. To this day I am still incredibly proud of myself for doing the adult thing and picking up the phone. I was so terrified.

At the appointment, I wanted to explain things logically to my GP, but I ended up breaking down crying, saying something like ‘I don’t know, I just… I just feel so sad all the time’. The truth was, that was the first major step I had taken to do something about my depression and I felt the impact of the moment – I didn’t know whether any of what I was doing would help, but I knew it was important that I did something.

My GP asked me why I was having the emotions that I had (as opposed to the what of early 2015) and I replied that I genuinely did not know. Where earlier I was comparing my experiences with others and not finding my situation comparable to them, this time I was on my gap year and life really did not seem bad at the time. My depression was, and still is, very irrational of me considering my circumstances.

I went to see a counsellor. It helped a little bit, but not that much. I think most of the change in mindset afterwards happened by itself.


A month and a bit later, I was a week after finishing my medication and my next GP appointment was not for another two days. On the 14th of May, I was not in a good mood, and neither was my mom. We got into a heated spat about something very minor. I broke down in the bathroom, and I saw the open cabinet door with the pair of scissors in it.

Scissors are relatively very blunt compared to other sharp objects, so all I ended up with were some very red, raised lines, and the tiniest beads of blood. It took a lot of pressure and self-hate to make those marks at all, let alone draw blood. Had that been a razor (we don’t use hand razors in this house) I might have ended up in hospital or worse. I spent a lot of time afterwards looking at the marks on my arm, ‘trying to figure out what they mean’, according to a diary entry. The lines are unnoticeable now but sometimes I wish I still had a scar to remind myself always that things were worse before and better now.

However, I wrote a private diary entry in an old notebook after my shower, and that’s enough. This is how I can write about it now because I knew it was a new low for me, and one that I needed reminding of. In hindsight, I wasn’t ready to be without the antidepressants yet, and I noticed multiple times later on that if I didn’t take my medication for a few days my mood would crash pretty badly without any other obvious cause. Needless to say, I tried not to go without them again and scheduled my appointments appropriately for the next few months.


20180211125525_IMG_7703-03-01.jpeg

In September 2017, I started to evaluate my mood on a scale of +10 to -10. My average mood when I am depressed being around -3 or -4. In general, I was feeling much better. I actually hadn’t taken my medication for months at that point but I didn’t feel awful and I didn’t feel a crash as I stopped. I went out with some friends on the 9th September, and my mood was about a +7, according to my diary: “I felt so good. I can’t stress that enough, I’m so surprised by it.”

Then I managed to crash to a -7 which I now have pegged as ‘suicidal thoughts with minor urges to actually carry it out’. I genuinely wanted to jump out of a window, and I was petrified that I would. I couldn’t sleep and ended up writing in my diary at 2:20am, two hours after getting home, after breaking all sorts of rules. It took me weeks to climb back up from that -7. I thought it might have been the alcohol, at the time, but now I don’t think that was the case. It was at least the first time that I realised how sensitive my mood could be to change even if things were good.

Again, nothing was inherently wrong with my life besides my feelings. There was no ‘why’. I had exciting events planned and I was about to start at my university. There was a complete mismatch between my situation and my mood, objectively, and I think that lead to a dysphoria, a ‘state of unease or dissatisfaction with life’ that was really hard to shake off. When people ask me what’s wrong, there’s genuinely nothing wrong, and it’s hard to explain that I can’t control my mood fully even with all my best attempts to do so.

But I did write that night about how my parents can’t be blamed for things. That they worked their butts off and always did the best they could for their kids and that I felt bad they ended up with a crap daughter like myself. It’s strange, because I’ve never felt so comfortable with myself by my own standards but the moment that the other people I love are involved I’m not worth anything anymore. 

That feeling still persists from time to time. I’m working on it.


 

20180211125525_IMG_7703-02-01.jpegSince we are on a timeline, I want to also mention Jonghyun of SHINee as I’ve been meaning to say something about him, too. Never found the right words, though. He committed suicide on the 18th December, 2017 after a long battle with depression. He was a successful performer, y’know – world at his fingertips and all, and he still felt that way. He finished all the preparations for his new album, Poet/Artist, and he even filmed some variety shows. His album was released posthumously. It’s fantastic.

I can’t claim to know what he was thinking. From what I could tell, he had been planning it for a long time, all whilst thinking of who and what he loved and was leaving behind. As a member of SHINee and as a solo artist he knew he was very, very, very well loved, and still chose to make the decision to end his life. I think the album and what he left behind were all signs of that – that he cared so deeply for his family, his friends, and his fans. I think one of the few things that kept him wanting to be alive was just that.

That’s something I relate to. For me, I think my life is small and trivial, but my friends are my world. I would not want to wish the after-effects of my death on them, and if it means staying alive for them, then sure. I think suicide, in a sense, is selfish in that way (I’m not sure how better to word that). What I’m trying to say is, I think Jonghyun chose to end his life as a final act of self-care, and still he was thinking of those he loved by planning his album and his suicide. I am sure he has found his own happiness now.

Again, I cannot pretend I know him, and I just wanted to share some thoughts on my point of view, and finally get it off my chest. I didn’t realise it would shake me so badly. I cried reading the initial announcements on the news, and even weeks later I feel tremendously sad at anything involving him, like Lee Hi’s performance of a song he wrote. I haven’t been able to listen to the final track of his posthumous album yet. It’s a piano ballad. I heard the first few notes and noped completely out.


This brings us to roughly the present day. This section is actually the hardest to write, because I never feel like I have a proper grasp of my feelings until long after the time has passed.

However, I promise you that right now, as I finish up this post before it goes out tomorrow, I’m in a good place. Maybe a little muted, but good. Depression never feels like the kind of fight that is won. 

Most days I’m good. I have things I want to do, small aspirations, almost never a plan. My modal average day is no longer a -4, but more of a 0 or -1. In fact, the week of my birthday I was consistently at +4/5. That was great, and I long for more weeks like that.

Other days, I don’t feel good, but not bad either. On those days, instead of caring a little less, which can be good for me, I don’t care at all. All my emotions seem muted or absent. Sometimes, I ‘slip’ a little, back into that old pit of sad. Sometimes, I feel without purpose or just aimless, and I have moments of sadness welling up in my chest throughout the day. Sometimes, before I know it, a bad day has become a bad week – time can really fly when you’re depressed.

However, since last year I’ve been hyper-aware of my feelings and as such, I’ve been better at spotting these kinds of days and clamping down on them ASAP. I’ve found that the best way to do that is to have all the important crap started and sorted earlier so I can take time out for myself. Then things are mostly OK.

Although sometimes, my wrists itch, and it’s frustrating.

Even now, I have times where I doubt my experiences. How serious are my symptoms now? I am constantly comparing my current mental state to that of last year and I think it might prove counteractive eventually. For example, I often think ‘this can’t be that bad of a day. I have had worse. I have survived worse.’ It sounds pretty good until I remember that I have never been able to justify my awful feelings and low mood days and I’m not about to start. In reality, it’s ‘this is not that bad of a day, but I feel like crap anyway.’

The third type of day is the worst kind. I’m having a good day, and I am happy, and I’m laughing a lot. That’s good. But beyond that feeling of happiness, there’s a pit somewhere and I am still stuck down it. Is it a crap ton of self-doubt? Is it the sense of impending doom? Is it the feeling of knowing that happiness is more temporary than sadness? I hate that I am this stubborn in my sadness.

I have slowly become more accustomed to talking about my depression to my friends, especially the few I love the most because I know they worry about me and appreciate that they do, even if I don’t want them to. Whilst it’s so easy to let a bad day pass and pretend to my friends that it never happened, these days I can just tell them it’s a bad day.

Not all the time, though. I actually tend to rotate and tell one person each time, so they’re not all worrying about me at once.


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On top of that… I’m twenty now. It feels like a happy little miracle. As I told someone one time, ‘my mental health got to a point where I genuinely did not think about being alive for this long. Like I wanted to get better but didn’t know what I wanted to live for.’

As a result of this, I didn’t keep any aspirations over the last few years beyond ‘I want to make it to the end of the day having smiled at least once’.

When I was 13 I had my heart set on writing. I still do, as it’s my Plan A (Plan Ambitious). That said, I wish I felt the urge to be writing regularly and this blog is the closest I am getting to my daily quota of creative writing. My Plan B (Plan Believable) is something more akin to teaching languages, working abroad or working in a field of psychology after I graduate. Perhaps even all three. My short term goals are to study well, save money, and successfully get a study placement in Korea. Heck, guys, I have GOALS. I have things I want to aim for! That’s pretty amazing!

I finally see that I have a life ahead of me. Isn’t that the most terrifying thing?

Thank you for reading this far.

Until next time,

X

#Playlist: Ghosts

Hi everyone!

I wasn’t sure whether to do this or not, but I’m worried that my content is suffering these days and I’m not putting out the quality I want. So I want to be sure I’m taking time to work on them properly and making sure I am including all the information I want to. I know I finally got some photos and all, but along with uni work I’m struggling to get my words up to the standard I want.

So you probably won’t see another post this week and might just see less posting from me for a while depending on how these next few weeks go. I have a few events lined up to fill the week before the term ends, so that’s also quite exciting. It’s wild that I’m over halfway through my first year at university.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling like my music needs a bit more shaking up again whilst I work on this assignment for university. Before you ask… Did I dive down into a pit of music recommendations from YouTube that I actually liked? Yes, the answer is yes.

It’s inspired this playlist of recent discoveries with a dash of songs I felt just fit right in here. It’s not too upbeat. As much as I love my pop music, I have a soft spot for music that’s kind of whimsical and dreamy but there are also some very specific things I like. Sort of deep and mildly depressing and perhaps a soundtrack for the non-existent aimless midnight wander.

Today’s playlist is a mix of English language and Korean language tracks.

Ashmute (Korean)Ghost, Scenery, Inferno – I really like the dreamy feel coming from this trio, and how they play around with the pace of their songs. My favourite of these is Ghost but Scenery has really grown on me. K-Indie tends to be kind of hit-and-miss for me as I focus on sound rather than lyrics and a lot of K-Indie can sound similar to me, but this is really nice.

Kailee MorgueGhost of Mine, Medusa – I initially got some Melanie Martinez vibes from Morgue’s vocals on Ghost of Mine. I really like this kind of music – the kind that’s just really strange and haunting but not too deep like Ruelle’s Madness – I like that sound too but not all the time.

Bipolar SunshineDaydreamer – Well… This playlist could do with some happy. I’m definitely up for listening to more Bipolar Sunshine now that I have discovered them, this is a jam.

DJ SnakeMiddle (ft. Bipolar Sunshine) – It’s funny, I do love the odd DJ Snake track I come across but I always forget to dive into their discography. This is the most upbeat track on the playlist.

MothicaOut of It – In doing a little bit of research on Mothica I saw the words ‘gloom pop’. At last, a word for the genre of music I like. I’ll go searching later for songs under this umbrella, haha.

Sojung of Ladies’ Code (Korean)Crystal Clear – Sojung has one of the most distinctive voices in the mainstream K-Pop scene and I really miss Ladies’ Code and love their newer songs so it is lovely to hear her singing again. I want to hear her in a long with Lee Hi one day. I think their voices would resonate well together.

Heize (Korean) – Jenga – There’s something odd about the end of the hook that I really like. What is it, dissonance? It was odd but now I really like it. I first watched Heize on Unpretty Rapstar 2 for a bit and really liked her as well as Kitti B and Yubin.

Heyne (Korean) – Insomnia (Unofficial, included to omit the snoring in the official MV)|Official MV – Heyne’s unusual voice is what stopped this from being too boring for me. That and perhaps the fact that she’s actually 26-ish and looks (and sounds) younger than me!

Tei ShiNevermind The End (unofficial)|Official MV, Say You Do (unofficial)| Official MV – I’ve been listening a lot to these two tracks recently. They’re just really nice to loop.

FazerdazeLucky Girl – I’m hoping this is a nice choice to tie off the playlist as well as leading back to the beginning when I feel like it.

I hope you’ve discovered something that you like today. I’ll get back to writing my uni assignment now!

Until next time,

X

My Current TBR Pile, as of March 2018

When I first sat down to write this I was thinking that this would end up being a very long post. This was because it seemed like my TBR pile had finally reached the heights of my G-Dragon poster. Then I realised that I could split the pile somewhat. I tend to leave my current reads on top of this pile too, you see, as well as some other stray books.

Anyway, after splitting the pile into my abandoned reads and actual yet-to-be-touched books, I thought I would show you the books in the latter category.

But then after that… This post was originally scheduled for February but my birthday recently passed by and I got a few more books as gifts…. making this a very long post. Whoops.

 

Yes, that’s right everyone, I am experimenting with portrait images and not landscape!
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
About: A group of young boys crash land on an island and have to fend for themselves.
Goodreads

This has been on my TBR for a while. As a lover of the Battle Royale, I think the original plan was to self-study these books together alongside other books of a similar premise, like The Hunger Games and The Long Walk. It never really happened, but I still want to read this again. I’m sure I would at least appreciate it more than my thirteen-year-old self did.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
About: A dreamwalker and clairvoyant hired to break into people’s minds for information.
I’ve heard so much good about this series but wasn’t sure if it was for me. The book itself is pretty stunning, though, and I thought about it a lot. I was really surprised to find it in a charity shop a few weeks ago with an unbroken spine and snapped it up straight away! £2.50, everyone. What a deal!

I spied some Murakami and other big titles that day, too, so it really goes to show that charity shops are always worth checking out. I’ve spotted everything from hardbacks of The Girl On The Train to the entire Song of Ice and Fire series in such stores. Did you know my entire Harry Potter book set was second hand in this way? In fact, I think half my bookshelf is second hand!

I See You by Claire Mackintosh
About: A woman becomes the target of possible horrible crimes after her photo is revealed in a newspaper’s classified ad.
Goodreads
This is a book gift from Tray, and it’s a thriller. I don’t normally read this genre but it sounds good and I’m looking forward to shaking up my reading a bit.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
About: A girl caught in the whirl of a close friend’s death at the hands of a police officer.
Does this book even need an introduction? It’s probably the most recommended book of 2017 as I just did not stop hearing about it, and I picked this up at a The Works store in Colchester, for £3! Only… that was in October or November and I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t touched it.
The Young Elites Trilogy by Marie Lu
About: A survivor of a deadly fever with emerging powers.
This was also picked up at The Works, but one in my city. They do some great discounted box sets and I’ve been mulling over getting the Poison Study (Maria V Snyder) box set for a while, too. I’ve heard lots of good things about Marie Lu so I’m eager to start this series.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens|Goodreads
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte|Goodreads
Two classics here, bought where else but a charity shop? I’m not as hyped to read these but I’ve always been meaning to read them so I expect I’ll get around to it at some point. Not that I hate classics, I’ve enjoyed a few before but they’re just less exciting to pick up, initially!

Morning Star by Pierce Brown (Red Rising Series, #3)|Goodreads

I’ve just finished Golden Son, the second book in the series, and I may leave it a while before I finally finish this trilogy. I am really enjoying it so far, though.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J. K Rowling)
About: A detective is tasked to solve the apparent suicide of a model.
Goodreads

Another charity shop find from more than a year ago, I simply haven’t found myself in a rush to read this.


Blade Runner (originally ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) By Philip K. Dick
About: A bounty hunter is tasked to retire some rogue androids.
Goodreads

Renamed for the infamous film and recent cinematic remake, I first spotted this in Foyles before meeting a friend, before then finding it in The Works for £2, of all places!
Ink by Alice Broadway
About: A girl’s father dies and his tattoos, his life records, to be made into a Skin Book only there is something missing from his.
Goodreads

Following on from the last book, The Works also often offer 3 for £5 on their books. Normally, the store in Birmingham City Centre doesn’t have a selection to my taste but when I spotted these two books, I was so excited! AT was with me and also wanted a copy of Blade Runner so we were able to pick up the books for £5 together!
The Bees by Laline Paull
About: A bee of the lowest caste in the hive breaks a sacred law.
Goodreads

This was a birthday gift from AT, and is pitched as ‘Hunger Games’ meets ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. The concept sounds really interesting and this isn’t just human dystopia with a bee concept – all the characters are bees! The cover of this particular edition is really bright and attractive and adds some much-needed colour to my TBR pile.
Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin
About: A girl strives to create her own companion out of the mechanical parts that every human in her community has.
Goodreads

This was a birthday gift from Twerp. It went straight on my wishlist after I had seen it floating around my twitter or something and I fell in love with the new paperback cover, with red sprayed edges!


Clearly, I need to make a start on this pile, but I really can’t help myself when it comes to buying books. I’m trying to make more room for reading this year, with the aim of at least a book per month for my Goodreads challenge.

What is your reading challenge goal this year?

Until next time,

X

Some Songs and an Attempt To Sum Up My Month

Hi everyone!

It’s the last day of February now. Compared to January, this month really flew by and lots of things happened. I didn’t just want to write about my month, so I tried to find the best songs in my music library to express the things that happened.

Since I listen to a lot of Korean Pop, I had to google a lot of the lyrics for the first time, haha. I was surprised to find that a lot of the sweeter love songs didn’t quite match the meaning I wanted for this song selection.

Galantis – In My Head | I actually don’t have much to say about this one, it’s sort of self-explanatory, lyric-wise.

Namie Amuro – Birthday | Also moderately self-explanatory, seeing as it was my birthday this month AND this year it’s also unintentionally been a case of “new year, slightly-better me”.

Melanie Martinez – Soap (Sailors Remix)| I am working on a sort-of filter for when I say things. I say stupid things, get annoyed myself for staying stuff and then take it out on someone else and what the heck, Swanna? PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER. Also, I’ve started letting out the occasional swear word at work, which isn’t good when I am working with kids. Luckily, it’s all been out of earshot but that needs work, too.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Warm Blood | For the longest time, as much as I adore this song to bits, I didn’t really get it. It sounds like a love song that is borderline creepy due to the blood imagery. But I was daydreaming up a music video for this recently and something just clicked.
I recently went out to the pub to hang out with some friends. My alcohol tolerance is really low, everyone. I felt my heart pounding after one glass of wine, and I stood up and my head spun and my hearing went muffled which was quite scary until I was outside for a bit. But anyway, that was the experience that made this song make sense, and what inspired me to write this entire blog post. It’s just a dreamy, muffled feeling of drunk happy.

Red Velvet – My Second Date | Okay, so I’m not quite at Date #2 yet. Did I tell you about how I had a Valentine’s blog post all ready, about being single and stuff? Yeah, you didn’t see it, because it wasn’t really relevant to me anymore. Yeah… Suddenly I wasn’t exactly single. As the song says, “from A to Z, it’s all so awkward”.
Dates are really weird, everyone.

Kisses are even weirder. I was tempted to include 3OH!3’s “My First Kiss” (which, to reference the lyrics, didn’t go ANYTHING like this) but no. Not that my expectations were high, but my YA fantasies have been proper shattered, LOL.

LOONA / Yves & Chuu – Girls’ Talk | Typically, all my close friends got almost-live updates as all this dating stuff happened, so despite me saying ‘oh my lawd guys don’t tell anyone’ they all know anyway. All the recent happenings were just so bizarre. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are moments with this guy that are really sweet and sappy and stuff and I do like messaging him (and also my friends) in the dead of night. That’s part of the reason this song is on this playlist.

But, on the other hand, it’s this gossipy part of the experience that makes it feel sort of like… a game. I won’t lie when I say I tell my friends things just to seek reactions, and that those reactions are entertaining. So, it’s not that I particularly care if people find out, but I don’t want certain people to tease me into oblivion. ANYWAY. Am I even making sense?


That was something just a little random for a mid-week, end-of-month post. I hope you enjoyed that!

Until next time,

X