Review: Revolution Conceal & Define Liquid Concealer

Hi everyone!

Like every other makeup enthusiast I was super excited to hear about Revolution’s new concealer and its shade range. It was something I insisted on buying in person but its popularity proved so immense I couldn’t even find teasers in store, let alone the actual product! After its launch, it took almost two whole months for me to get my hands on the concealer to try!

Revolution Conceal & Define costs only £5 and is available at Superdrug’s stores and website, as well as the Tambeauty site.

Not surprisingly, the packaging is a very trendy rose-gold, and the tube a little bulky compared to my other products. It’s pretty and looks lovely in photos, though.

The doe-foot applicator is nice and really pleasant to use, although sometimes I find it picks up a little too much product. This is a minor gripe, though, and I find the amount plenty for the areas I use base products on. The product doesn’t set too quickly either so it’s not a problem that I’ve got way too much concealer on one side of my face.

I don’t use foundation all over my face normally, and in hindsight, I actually use foundation and concealer the same way – mostly around the centre parts of my face where redness most often shows. I am also not fussed about concealing my dark circles – I am a student after all, and it’s a perfectly normal thing in the exam season! With this in mind, my base products have to match well to the outer parts of my face.

The swatch below shows the concealer next to my two favourite current matches in concealer and foundation- the Maybelline Eye Eraser in Light and the Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation in 1W2 Sand. Both of these current products I want to avoid repurchasing if I can find cruelty-free alternatives, which is unfortunate as they match really well and I have found that I do have a difficult skintone to match – a neutral – yellowish tone that many products fail to match by turning too orange. Oxidisation also really annoys me so I’d much rather my base products didn’t do that, too.

 

I always get define and conceal mixed up and corrected it three times on this blog post alone…

 

I liked the match for C6 against my skin. Surprisingly, Superdrug labels C6 for ‘medium skin tones with peach undertone’ although I have never labelled my skin tone as such and C6 doesn’t obviously seem like that kind of shade either. It’s also surprisingly light and less yellow compared to Maybelline Eye Eraser in Light and Double Wear in 1W2 Sand. It blends out well with a natural, very slight brightening effect due to the difference in shade whereas 1W2 is perhaps the darkest I could go without it looking horrible.

In terms of lasting power, it fares pretty well. I have oily skin and this will inevitably break down on the nose despite a generous dusting of powder. However, it looks far better after a few hours than the Eye Eraser does especially on the upper lip and beneath the chin where the product can also break up at times.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and would probably repurchase this again over my other options. Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you thought of it!

Until next time,

X

 

Books of 2018, #3: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Hi everyone!

I am slightly behind on my reading schedule of a book per month. A lot of the books I have are actually quite bulky or read slowly and with university studies and work, and the hectic week before Easter, March was almost completely devoid of reading.

I’d been making my way through the books in this post – books that I’ve started but were on pause. All my books sat on the spare desk until Derp came home for the holidays and Twerp refused to give his room back again, so he’s living with me and needed the spare desk. I moved my entire TBR pile back to a corner of my desk where it’s three books away from reaching the G-Dragon poster on the wall… again.

In the re-shuffle, A Thousand Pieces of You ended up right at the bottom of a 17-book reading pile because I didn’t think I would get around to finishing it. So when I suddenly felt like finishing it last week, I almost didn’t bother trying to move it from under the pile. On the other hand, it’d been bothering me that I’d only read half, and I needed my March book…

As I am sure I have mentioned eons ago, this was a birthday gift from my friend Nicole, picked from my wishlist and mostly on the list because of its delectable, breathtaking cover. I thought I knew not to judge a book by its cover but I’ve noticed – in the years since not having my school library and buying my own books – that a great cover really makes me scream ‘take my money!’ But alas, the proverb had to ring true sooner or later, and it certainly did for this.

Or rather, my eyes must have skipped over the romance in the description of the book. That would have made me run in the opposite direction.

My main opinion is that this was utterly and totally ‘meh’. The idea of jumping into alternate universes is super promising and seeing as it’s a romantic sci-fi YA, the story… wasn’t that surprising, if that makes sense? It was quite predictable, and I felt there was so much left to explore that I was a little unsatisfied at the end. It’s full of tropes and stuff that made me go urgh (it’s been a while since I read about a love triangle!) but that my younger self might have absolutely loved. Then again, Twerp has also read the book – she’s the same age of the ‘younger self’ I’m referring to and she doesn’t like the book much either. Maybe it’s just us!

Anyway, once I set my mind to it, this was a speedy read, not too complex, and I finished it in two days. We shall see how long it survives on my bookshelf, too… I’ve already started my April book as well so hopefully, I’ll stay on track now.

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

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

[Chatter] A Quiet Evening

I’m sure it happens to a lot of us.

I’ve noticed recently that I go through these phases of being very talkative, oversharing and social, then feeling very very quiet and reserved, and wanting to keep to myself as much as possible. Even now, I don’t feel like writing a lot. I don’t particularly feel like doing anything, actually.

Last night, I was having a bit of an ‘off’ evening where my mood was really low for no reason. I was struggling to take care of myself and had finally pushed myself into the shower, and forced myself to do my skincare and brush my teeth. As a bonus I even body-buttered myself. But on these days I also feel this strong urge of not wanting to sleep, and it was past midnight at this point.

This is a rather regular occurrence for me, by the way. I usually just try not to work against it and take some ‘me’ time without guilt and, when sleep takes over, the feeling lessens in the morning and I can take things from there. These phases pass. I am working on a long post about my depression, for later this month. In writing it, I realised how much this blog helped to track my emotions, so I do want to be talking more about my own emotions here.

Anyway.

I took out my deck of tarot cards. I was partly inspired by Alice’s post here, where she had her cards read, because it got me thinking, and reminded me that I have a set of cards. Do check out her blog – I find it very fascinating to read about her experiences living in Japan as someone who wants to live there one day or at least study abroad in Korea.

I’m not a heavy believer of tarot and I am obviously not a skilled reader. If anything, the cards present more questions than answers. However, I like to use them as a source of ideas and reflection, and they sometimes offer a new perspective on a problem I have.

I’ve been meaning to invest in a Rider-Waite deck and may actually get around to it soon. My current deck is just a small introductory one my friends picked out for a birthday once, but I really like the small size and its design.

A card that represents a part of my past that may be influencing my present

10 of Wands

Wands represent energy, growth and personal enterprise. The picture on this card depicts a man carrying a lot of sticks. I think it suggests a heavy workload. It brings to mind the idea of taking on too many new challenges and not being able to handle them all. Also, as you all know, I keep a lot of hobbies although I am not active with all of them at the moment, and this card is also making me think of that.

A card that represents the present situation –

Temperance, reversed

The image depicts a woman pouring something from jar to jar, amongst vines and a tortoise and a hare. It reminds me of how I like to be busy (the hare) but also need time to take it slow, like with my talkative and quiet periods (the tortoise).

Temperance means self-restraint. In particular, voluntary restraint or self-moderation. Mine is upside down, which could mean the opposite, or it could emphasise the normal meaning. To me, it means something is abnormal here. Am I too controlled or too uncontrolled right now?

I’m not fully sure what it could be referring to as there isn’t anything, in particular, I have been practising extra restraint or freedom in. Perhaps it could be about my mood, which is often out of my control and definitely was last night… but I find that to be too convenient of an interpretation, perhaps.

A card that represents an issue of the future

the King of Swords.

The picture depicts a king with grapes and a fox.

This card represents independent judgement and rationality, two things I can lack at times. Swords represent interaction, communication as well as intellectual pursuits, so I usually take the meaning in the context of work and study. This card suggests that I might improve in these aspects or that opportunites will arise in which I can, and this will be something that challenges me in the future.

A card that represents what can be done in the present to prepare for the future

2 of cups, reversed

The picture depicts a boy and girl holding a wine on which cups rest. SIGH. Cups in general represent the emotional and relationship side of life. I assume this card means relying on others for emotional support. This card could also be advising me to keep things light-hearted with a focus on relieving tension.

So, these were just a few things for me to think about and pass the time with. I’m always a little surprised at how applicable these can be and what I can learn from these despite not reading seriously.

Have you ever had a look at tarot card reading?

Until next time,

X

Twenty Thoughts from A Twenty Swanna (i.e. it’s my Birthday.)

Hi everyone!
It will be my twentieth birthday as this post rolls out. I can’t quite believe that I’ve survived two decades of life so I’m kind of chuffed.
Did I do anything particularly special? Er… no. My regular outing with Tray has had to be moved due to uni things and on top of that, we both have university lectures on our actual birthdays! The official celebration isn’t happening for another two months as a result.
I wasn’t actually feeling a big celebration though and didn’t plan anything in the meantime. Well, I attempted to plan things but also had uni events and deadlines to keep up with. In the end, I ended up with very impromptu plans to go out for food with friends… three times this week!

 

THANKS FOR THE CAKE, RK. I celebrated really early with her as she flew home over a week ago. I love her chocolate handiwork.

 

I thought that ‘twenty things I learned in the last twenty years’ would be a good thing to do. After all, what is this blog without some sort of reflection?
But then I ran out of things after ten, so now it’s just ‘twenty thoughts‘.
Even then, I struggled with thinking of stuff.

One.
Care a little less.

This is my mantra for everything, these days.
I care less about people’s opinions of me when I talk. This does result in me sounding a little passive-aggressive, sometimes, but also being less willing to take other people’s crap. I also seem to have a knack for flirting when I am into it.
I care less so I don’t stress too much about my work, too.
In the words of my brother, things just are not that deep.

Two.
Make the best decision you can, and then put your all into what you decide to do.

This way, I end up with fewer regrets. It’s easy to just say ‘don’t do things you’ll regret’ but that’s the best advice I can give on actually preventing them!

Three.
Get that sleep in.

I know for sure now that I function best on at least 9 hours of sleep and I have been better at getting to bed early when I need to. Luckily, my uni schedule has been nice for this, too. I’ve definitely noticed that over a longer period of time running on sub-par nights, my mood also suffers in ways I can’t help. I’m pretty sure there are now scientific studies that found the same thing. I will have to find them sometime.

Four.
How to dress for my body type.

As my body changed in my teens, I didn’t know what to do with it. My style went from tracksuits all day, every day, to A-line tops, leggings and canvas shoes, to discovering skater skirts that flatter my waist, paired with nice ankle boots. Your teenage fashion is always going to be cringe-worthy but take what you like most about yourself and accentuate it, always try things in store and don’t buy on a whim.
Yeah, with my body type online shopping is mostly a no-go.

Five.
Keep the curtains open in the winter.

I struggle to get up in the mornings when it’s dark. So sometimes, I leave my curtains open and it does help me get up when my room is [fractionally] brighter. As for the summer… I’ll figure that out later.

Six.
Cafes.

I hugely underestimated the power of a nice coffee shop.
Even if I usually order a pot of tea at one.

Seven.
Adults can be idiots too.

I was taught to respect my elders and I still do, but I was also taught that they are never wrong, and that’s not right. Respect their opinion, by all means, but they can be wrong… And hypocritical. Especially now I’m an adult myself, this has never been more apparent. That’s right… This has been an open declaration that I’m an idiot.

Eight.
Food costs a lot.

SOB.

Nine.
Sharing is [Self] Caring

Okay, I know I have self-confessed tendencies to gossip which I blame on my mother’s side of the family. But that’s not what this is about.

When I am struggling with something, usually my emotions or other decisions or general stress, just being able to vent out to someone is a real help. Most times organising my thoughts for them helps me to find the answer myself, and when I’m being extra irrational my friends are the best voices of reason, too.

Ten.
Don’t wait for free time. Make it.

I think I picked up this piece of advice during a year of NaNoWriMo and honestly, I’ve never let go of it since it clicked. Sometimes, instead of waiting for a free day to draw or knit or read, you have to take matters into your own hands.
Find that spare half hour.
Push around the minutes.
Make time.

20180201181658_IMG_7586-02.jpeg
A note about my name – you could spell it Su-Wa-N, Su-Wo-N, Su-A-N or Su-O-N in Katakana. It doesn’t matter since it follows the pronunciation, and on top of that, there are sounds that can’t be written in Japanese.

Eleven.
Friends aren’t made in a day.

This one I keep having to remind myself of since starting at university. Of course, I’m not going to be besties with everyone. It takes years of hanging out until we have too much dirt on each other to let each other go in order for that to happen.

Twelve.

Skills aren’t mastered in a day either… and they take practice!

On one hand, my standards are really low. I’m happy to be alive, and I’m happy to be happy. But on the other hand, it’s difficult not to keep comparing myself to others my age with bigger achievements no matter how small it may seem.
Also, I know I still have a long way to go to reach the place I want to be with my writing and other skills, but I need to remind myself that I’m not really getting anywhere by not dedicating time to them. I haven’t worked on my novel in a while.

Thirteen.

Everyone should spend at least a summer working in retail.

You’d appreciate shopping a lot more, believe me. It doesn’t even have to be a summer – it could be the really busy Christmas period. Experience handling fussy customers and in the end you’ll wish you never have to be That Customer for someone else.

Fourteen.

You can’t look after other people
if you’re not looking after yourself.

I began to think about this since last year, but I was discussing life priorities with someone the other day and was reminded of this. On my own list of priorities, my mental health and wellbeing are at the top whereas for someone else it might be that they put everyone else before themselves.
Either is fine and doesn’t make you all the worse for it.

It’s just that when I’m under the weather, I’m of practically no use to anyone else.
But also, I have to look after myself so that my friends don’t have to stress about me since I know they worry about me sometimes.

Fifteen.

Honestly? Honesty.

I don’t know about you, but lying never got me anywhere.
If it’s important, the sooner it’s discussed the better.
In most cases.

Sixteen.

Be reasonable. Be rational.

This one mostly applies to my shopping habits, but it also applies to interacting with people, sometimes. It’s why I always go to my friends when I feel like my thoughts and opinion don’t make sense and needs objective input. It involves making an effort to understand someone else’s point of view before I go about judging them.

Seventeen.

There is always tomorrow.

No matter how terrible that day is, there is always the opportunity to go to bed and wake up feeling a little better and I’m grateful for that.

Eighteen.

Starting something is the first step towards finishing something.

This is especially true for writing as I find starting the hardest thing to do… even if I haven’t finished a novel yet.
It is less true for trying to exercise.

This brought to mind that quote from Adventure Time:
‘Sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something.’
-which I think ties into point twelve as well.

Nineteen.

Don’t start things last minute.

This might sound hypocritical of me since I can be guilty of this myself. But honestly, once I get started, as mentioned in point eighteen, the rest comes a bit easier. Start from the middle of something if you have to. But basically, if the thing is started early, such as the essay draft, that’s a little less to do later when you’ve suddenly been bogged down with work and other deadlines.

Twenty.

Blood is NOT thicker than water.

This one probably sounds a bit harsh but when it comes to my family, I am equal parts attached and apathetic. I am lucky to have really close friends in my siblings but beyond that… I have less sympathy. My family get no free passes because we have blood relations. That’s never quite made sense to me. However, I do also want to make an effort to be closer to my wider family in Vietnam, who always make me feel welcome when I am there, because recently I was wondering what I would do if my parents were not around to bridge the gap between us.


Okay, that was surprisingly hard! I didn’t realise that twenty things was so many. I don’t think I’ll be able to do thirty when I’m thirty…

Dad mentioned something about being grateful for being born and stuff, and I am – that’s a given. But I’m also grateful to myself for still being here, despite my horrid mental health. For making it through and letting me experience a lot of cool, fun stuff as of late. Parents get their own days to celebrate in mothers’ and fathers’ days but birthdays are for the individual to celebrate themselves and making it on their own strengths.

As a final point, I’m doing so many things as an adult that I never imagined I would be doing when I was a teenager or even younger. I didn’t think I would be a concert-goer or that I would ever go to a nightclub (I’ve only been once, but still). I’m actually relatively surprised at the amount of independence and freedom I have now even if I do still complain sometimes.
I mentioned that it’s difficult to make friends, but leaving primary school I had pretty much none, and leaving secondary school I have a handful of close friends and a bucket load of names I want to meet up over a pot of tea sometime. (If you went to my secondary school, that’s you. I’m serious, hit me up.) I’ve said this before, but honestly, if my eleven-year-old self could see me now, she’d cry in amazement.
My friends are the reason I’m still here – the reason I still choose to be here. If you’re a friend reading this, THANK YOU. I’m really bloody grateful for all of you. Heck, I’m crying happy tears.
Happy Birthday to Me.

Until next time,

X

Review: Banobagi Vita Genic Jelly Sheet Masks

I may have mentioned in my blogging process post about a draft or photo or two that was just buried in my notes and folders. Well, I dug up some photos that looked really nice and re-shot a sheet mask selfie, and boom. The pretty shots here were taken last May (!!!!!!) so for me to say that this review is overdue is a severe understatement!

The Vita Genic masks were a gift to me from a friend in Scotland who I met in October of 2016. You’d think I’d have used them all up by now, but that’s a real testament to how often I use sheet masks (i.e. not a lot). From a quick search, I can see that a pack of ten costs about £12.50 on eBay (and very overpriced on Amazon…) so they’re quite inexpensive as masks go.

The sheet mask packets are a bit big and round, so depending on how much room you have for your masks they might be a little big for your container.

I have all four varieties available:

  • Green – Calm & Balance/Relaxing, Vitamin B, containing Jeju Aloe Water
  • Red – Firming/Lifting, Vitamin A, containing Jeju Cactus/Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract
  • Yellow – Tone Up/Whitening, Vitamin C, containing ‘Jeju Halabong Fruit’ extract
  • Blue – Moisturising/Hydrating, Vitamin E, containing Jeju Oxygen Water (LOL)

The sheet is made of 100% cotton. It fits really nicely on my face. Of course the chin and nose are a bit funky but that’s always the case with me. The sheet is super comfortable and adheres well.

It’s the return of the awful sheet mask selfie!

The essence, true to the ‘jelly’ part of the name, doesn’t drip even though there is loads of essence in the packet! I’m talking 30ml! There’s enough to slather on your whole body. I used it to ‘top up’ my mask as it began to dry out, and I had enough to do it TWICE. (I probably could have managed a third time if I had another hour spare.)

Image result for twice one more time gif
TWICE.
(K-Pop gifs are SUCH FUN. Why didn’t I do this sooner???)

As for the effects? I never usually pay heed to how a mask affects my face, to be honest. I wear them as an occasional treat more than anything else, or just so I can do both my skincare and my revision in the evenings at once! I did feel very refreshed after using it although there was nothing in particular to note.

Overall, I really like using these masks and they are certainly something I could see myself rebuying in the future.

Until next time,

X


Days since last buying lipstick: 34