The Road Goes Ever On: How I’m Coping With Dissertation Stress

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I actually took this photo in June, back when I was visiting my parents, hanging out of the car window. I thought it would be appropriate for my post today as the lake is so serene, and the fields and hills so beautiful and lush, whilst the road speaks of progress, leading us on to something else. (Pretentious much?)

Currently, I’m in the middle of writing my Masters Dissertation. Well, I’m actually pretty near the start, and so very far behind considering I only have three weeks until the deadline.

Oh god.

Anyways, I wanted to procrastinate write a quick post about staying relaxed, and keeping focused on the task in hand. Not that I am very good at this – I suffer from massive anxiety issues – but sometimes it helps to plan these things, so I guess this is a little bit of my relaxation plan!

It’s so easy to get burned out really quickly and feel mentally exhausted when all you do day after day is read, think and write. When times so short it feels like you can’t afford a break, but here are a few things I do to try and make it a bit easier on myself…

 1. Drink lots of water – I know this should really be a bit of a given, but I find that when I’m studying really hard I’m a lot more prone to dehydration headaches than I am usually. I’m crazy into coconut water at the moment, so if I’m going to the library I’ll always take a few cartons to line up on my desk, and that seems to stave off the worst of the headaches.

2. Do some exercise – Again, should be a given, but I’m really quite lazy. Having more important stuff to do gives me a great excuse not to do anything, but if I’m studying all day that means I’m a lot more sedentary than usual. After a few days I find I really feel the effects of this, becoming lethargic and pretty much just feeling a bit icky. I have an exercise bike, which is great because I tend to put on a tv show to cycle to, so I get the exercise and a bit of headspace at the same time.

3. Have a good read – This is how I motivate myself when I’m really struggling to concentrate. I pick a good, easy read (no Tolstoy ’til I’m done!), preferably with short chapters, and then reward myself with it. So, if I’m reading for my writing, it’s an article, then a chapter of my book, then another article, etc.

4. Bath – I find I relax a lot more in a bath than in a shower, so I go for a bubble-bath with a super lovely scent, and soak. The calm and quiet really help unwind my mind, and then when I hop out all clean and refreshed I feel ready to start again. I also do have some moments of inspiration, which is why I keep a notepad next to the tub!!

5. Face Masks! – Haha, anything to pamper myself, right? Again, this is kinda the idea of a wee break that leaves you feeling shiny and new, and ready to get on with it. Healthy mind in a healthy body. Or at least a clean one…

6. Quick Tidy Up – Classic procrastination technique. However, I really find that I work much better in a tidy environment. That’s why some days, when I just can’t hack the state of the kitchen, I head to the library, just so I can concentrate. When I wake up in the morning it takes me a long time and about two cups of tea to be capable of any coherent thought. Whilst I stagger around grunting, I try to make use of this time by making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be.

7. Cook fresh food – I am a stress eater, and when I’m studying nothing in the house is safe from my belly. My boyfriend has started hiding his food. I have spent some time looking for it. Anyways, it’s easy when you’re feeling out of steam to grab that frozen pizza with the cheese stuffed crust night after night and just whack it all in your mouth, maybe with some onion rings and curly fries to keep it company, but you will just feel gross later. Cook something properly yourself and not only is it time concentrating on something other than your work, but it will probably also make you feel healthier.

8. Vits. and Mins. – I don’t always take supplements. I get a little bit anxious about the whole thing do you turn into a carrot if you exceed the RDA of vitamin A? when I’m being my normal-self. However, I know that when I’m studying, despite my last point, my diet will be all over the place. I try to make sure I take a general multi-vitamin to hopefully keep my body a bit happier, but I couldn’t swear if this is anything other than a placebo.

9. Scented Candles – OK, it might feel a bit weird if you get up at 8 and light a candle, but I do a lot of my studying at night, so this seems a bit more socially acceptable ? then. I suppose it’s all about feeling nice and relaxed, so able to focus without distractions. I find a comforting smell just helps to make me feel more at ease and clear my mind.

10. Rainymood.com – Really, this list is making my realise that environment is everything. Rainy Mood is a website that just plays the sound of a rainstorm on loop. I love it. A friend introduced me to it years back. He used to put the site on, and then play heavy metal over it. Not quite my thing. However, I get far too distracted if I listen to music, but I can find silence quite oppressive. This is my compromise.


 

So, that’s what I do to try and stay calm. As I say, I’m not that great at it, unfortunately.

Anyone out there got any tips to share? Or did you find any of my points useful? Leave me a comment and let me know xx

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Not Another Bill!: July 2014

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This is my second month of receiving Not Another Bill! Last month I received a beautiful frame and print, and it was gorgeous. After that injection of beauty into my home, I couldn’t wait for my next parcel. This really shows the diversity of N.A.B, as last month was something to decorate my walls, this month is something to decorate my neck!

Studio Fludd is an exciting Italian art collective, taking its name from the English scientist Robert Fludd. This guy is a pretty interesting occultist, working on controversial topics in the 16th – 17th century. Their inspiration is alchemy, manipulating matter and material.

So, this month’s surprise is a multi-faceted Botswana agate stone on a neon thread with a pastel fastening. It came  wrapped in crepe paper inside a pinky screen-printed origami envelope. Not only is the necklace gorgeous, but the packaging is delightful. Opening it really gave me that internal squee feeling of being involved in the pretty!

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I’ve worn this basically every day with every outfit imaginable. Lovely jubbly!


 

At £18 a month, it’s a bit of a pricey subscription, and I don’t think I’d be comfortable spending that much money monthly on a surprise if I wasn’t so convinced of the quality. N.A.B. is deeply concerned with providing the best of the best, though, so I’m quite a happy little subscriber!

What do you guys think? Do you have a subscription or are you tempted to get one? Leave me a comment!! xx

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Birchbox July 2014: Sun, Sea and Sand!

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July already! How did that happen? The summer is just flying by! This month’s Birchbox has a lovely summery vibe, and contains some fantastic products that are already climbing rapidly in my summer top ten! The title of the box is ‘sun, sea and sand,’ which I have been forunate to get a bit of, living on the coast. I, however, have been referring to it as the purple favourite colour alert! box, as there are plenty of lovely violet based tones going on in there.

Models Own: Nail polish in Magenta Divine ~ £5

I am not going to post a picture of my nails wearing this as I would normally because my nails are super unhappy at the moment, and I think a glitter varnish would kill them. However, I think this would make a lovely glittery topcoat, and I can see myself wearing it a lot on my toes. I did test it on my thumb nail, and it spread nice and easily, so no silly glittery clumps to battle against.

Balance Me: Wonder Eye Cream ~ £20 for 15ml

I was very pleased when I heard this was a featured item, as I got a Balance Me face cream as a magazine freebie, and have enjoyed using it. The eye cream is refreshing and easily absorbed. I haven’t noticed much of a difference to my eye area, but that’s not unusual for me. However, I find that even if it’s not visible, it feels good, so I’m sure I’ll use it a fair bit!

Laqa & Co.: Sheer Lip Lube Pencil in Menatour ~ £14

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I love love love this pencil! I’ve been on the hunt for a good purple for such a long time and this is my perfect product. The colour seems to really suit my complexion, and there is a nice gloss to it on the lip. I know I will wear this nearly everyday. It is quite hydrating, and although it doesn’t have major staying-power, it lasts pretty well. Unfortunately it seems to be sold out online, but hopefully it will reappear when I need to replace it!

Benefit: The Porefessional ~ £24.50

I love me some Benefit! I have a bit of a haul I need to post in the next week or so, so I was super excited to open my box and see this! I have heard such great things about this product, but have never considered buying it as my pores aren’t that much of a problem for me. I have been wearing it anyway, as it is a super balm that really melts into the skin and gives it a radiance that means that I feel like I can go without foundation on those days we’ve had recently that have just been too hot. I’m a melter! Therefore I’m thrilled that Birchbox enabled me to encounter the porefessional and to discover how awesome it is!

Whish: Three Whishes Lavender Body Butter ~ £14.50

This is a very light-weight lotion that smooths very easily into the body, feeling very hydrating and with a gentle, more of a hint, of lavender scent. So far this product seems to only be available from Birchbox so that’s quite exciting in itself, n’est pas?

Filosofile: 4-sided Nail Buffer

Onto the French! Take a look at these guys’ website! Lots of cute little things which raise a smile! I’ve not actually used this buffer yet, but I’ve needed a new one for ages, so good timing, Birchbox!


 

Lovely box! A good mix of goodies to play with and to feel fabulous with. The only sad part is I now can’t wait for August! Oh well, patience is a virtue, after all…

How was your box this month? Are you ready for some fun in the some? Leave a comment and let me know!! xx
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Glossybox June 2014

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As many of you will know, I was severely disappointed in last month’s GlossyBox. There was too much variation between individual boxes, and the quality of the products wasn’t great. I wasn’t alone in feeling letdown, and it looks like GlossyBox has really listened to the feedback, as this month’s box is a marvelous improvement! Great value and good variety have produced a seriously impressive GlossyBox this month!

Nailgirls: 3-in-1 Base/Topcoat & Nail Strengthener ~ £13.50 for 15ml  

This is a sort of all purpose nail polish friend that you can use as base and top coat with the idea tht it particularly strengthens the nail. I couldn’t find this on the nailgirls website, but as this is billed as a new launch, that may be because it is a cheeky wee exclusive! It does its job well, and I think I got an extra day or so out of my manicure. This was perfectly timed, as I was just running out of my regular base coat.

Teeez Trend Cosmetics: Beautiful Flat Stiff Brush

How pretty is this brush?! It’s really lovely looking! To be honest, I’m not so keen on the brush itself. It’s a little too hard for me, and doesn’t seem to work so great with my eye shadows. That may be because all of my eye shadows are pretty cheap, but hey ho… I feel it might be quite good for cream shadows, as you’d have lots of control, but I don’t own any, so that’s a shame. I can’t find the brush for sale online, but I have seen a few on ebay.

Embelleze Novex: Brazilian Keratin

Once again, this is something I couldn’t find online! Am I highly incompetent with Google? Maybe! I saw something that might have been it on amazon, but I’m not confident enough to post a link here. It is a great product. You use it on clean, dry hair, applying it evenly and leaving it in for 15mins before washing it out and styling as normal. In that sense, it’s a bit of a faff, but my hair was easily shinier and smoother.

So Susan Cosmetics: Concealer Quad ~ £16.95

The packaging for this2014-07-02 09.25.02 quad is just so cute! I absolutely adore it. Now, my big secret, I don’t use concealer. Never have. Therefore I was quite interested to give this a go – maybe there was something I was missing out on?

The four shade in this palette blend together well, so should suit most skin tones. I found the formula pretty hard, and struggled to create the look I wanted. I’m not sure whether this is typical of concealer or not, so I can’t really comment on it. To be honest, this palette has not sold me on concealer, but I am glad to have it – just in case. It is available from So Susan’s website.

Roger & Gallet: Fleur de Figuier Eau Fraiche ~ £32.00 for 100ml

Mmmm, this smells lovely! Think fresh, spring days in fields with flowers and long white dresses and loose hair and floral headbands. Hehe, quite an image, huh? This is a generous sample, but if you need more, you can get it at Marks & Spencers.


So, this month’s box was a hit for me. It is actually July now how did that happen? and I’m really looking forward to the stars and stripes American themed box coming out in the next few weeks! You can sign up at GlossyBox if you fancy trying it out!

What did you think of this month’s offering? Leave me a comment and let me know! xx
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Love Me Beauty: June 2014

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Happy Birthday, Love me Beauty! It’s hard to believe it, but these brilliant boxes have just turned 1 year old. They’ve done such a good job of providing consistently high-quality boxes, and their menu system is so unique, that I feel this is the first of many birthday celebrations to come!

Urban Veda: Purifying Day Cream – £14.99 for 50ml

 Urban Veda are all about the natural. Therefore they claim to be highly sustainable, and conduct no animal testing. Their products are focused around botanicals, with this day cream including Neem, Witch Hazel, and Spearmint. The scent really is a big hitter, smelling clinical and yet natural somehow? I guess that’s the mint in action. It feels so refreshing to apply, and absorbs well into the skin. I’ve been using it daily for about a week now, and my skin has been lovely and soft.

Model Co: Shine Ultra Lip Gloss – £12

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Fairy Floss is a lovely gentle pink sheen, available here, that isn’t too sticky, and has quite a pleasant flavour. It’s super shiny, and lasts reasonably well. However, the most impressive thing to me about this product is the packaging – it has a mirror on it! I haven’t seen this before, and I have to wonder why? It’s a brilliant idea! You can do your gloss wherever you are without having to juggle a million things! Genius! This is definitely what I will reach for when I’m travelling. I wish there was a little more colour there, but as I didn’t pick the shade, I can’t really say I’m disappointed by it.

Montagne Jeunesse – Brazilian Mud Fabric Masque – £1.49

Montagne Jeunesse has been on my radar ever since I was a little girl. They are one of those iconic brands that seem to be in the collective consciousness, with their masques a staple of sleepovers and relaxing days in. This particular masque is new to the collection, containing Acai berries, avocado, and of course, purple(!) Brazilian mud where is this purple wonderland?? I have to confess, I haven’t actually tried this out. I am waiting til I have a day off work (one day it might happen!) to unwind with this. I am very excited to give it a go though.

Beauty UK: Eye shadow Palette – £3.99 

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I am a relentless collector of eye shadow palettes. They are possibly my favourite kind of product, in fact I never actually buy single eye shadows anymore!  This little palette has a good range of colours, and is very portable. The quality is fairly average, but for £3.99 I can’t complain. I think this is something I’d keep in my handbag for emergency eye shadow moments!

NYX Cosmetics: Nail Polish – £3.00 for 15ml

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I really like the colour of this polish, ‘winter’, but I can’t find it online anywhere – hence no link! It’s kinda a pearlescent peach, and it’s making my hands look a lot more tanned then they are – maybe not in the photo above though! I have only just applied this, so I can’t speak for it’s durability yet. Hopefully I won’t have to reapply it too soon, seeing as I don’t think I’d be able to re-buy it!


There we go, another good box from Love Me Beauty. I particularly liked how well balanced it was, with the beauty products spread out for nails, lips and eyes, and the skincare between daily use and special treat. I like being able to use everything at once!

Did you opt for a different menu? How was it? What was your favourite product? Leave me a comment!! xx

 

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Not Another Bill!: June 2014

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In a departure from my usual beauty box chatter, I’d like to tell you about another monthly treat I’m subscribed to – Not Another Bill! Don’t you just hate it when you hear the post drop through the letterbox, and it could be anything, yet it turns out to just be another bill? I know I do. I am as excited as a puppy when there’s post!

Not Another Bill is a service that aims to alleviate that feeling, or does it just create more anticipation?, by sending you a lovely surprise every month for around £18 a go. This month was my first parcel, and I was not disappointed! I spent a long time scrutinising the various things people had received previously before deciding to sign up for this, given that, compared to my other subscriptions, it’s quite expensive. I was always impressed. One month was a build-it-yourself camera, for heaven’s sake! How cool is that?!

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Anyways, I received a gorgeous frame from Ferm Living, a cool Danish design company that caters for the whole home. The idea behind this frame is how frustrating and expensive it can be to frame an unusually sized print. I completely understand this. I love collecting posters, but hate ruining them with blu-tack or sellotape or pins etc. Therefore, I have real difficulty displaying my collection. This frame attaches to the top and bottom by slotting the print in between the frame and a slim strip of wood. There are screws which then tighten against the wood (allen key provided), holding the print in place without damaging it. It therefore has a very minimal look, hanging from a leather strap.

And what would be a frame without something to put in it? Not Another Bill included this limited edition print, ‘Splat’, a gold foil splat on a white marble background, to fill the frame.

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It was a bit fiddly, but with the boyfriend helpfully pitching in to line the print up whilst I wielded the allen key, we had the print up on the wall nice and quickly. Now we have art!

I am already eagerly awaiting next month!


I have done an absolute ton of internet shopping recently. And real life shopping. And I wonder why I have no money!! I am working a 40hr week, that must mean I’m allowed a treat, right? Oh well. Do be assured, I will be sharing. If only to try and guilt myself into lesser extravagance by confronting it! Back to beauty boxes next time, folks!

Are you subscribed to Not Another Bill? Do you feel tempted? What do you think of the print? Leave me a comment and let me know!! xx

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Birchbox June 2014: Global Strikers

 

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They shoot, they score!

Well, BirchBox has just gone and done it again, putting together another awesome box that really knocks it out of the park! The idea behind this particular box is global beauty, inspired by the World Cup taking place, if you live under a rock, in Brazil! I have to say, I’m not in the slightest a football fan, and when I did try and watch the England game last night, I fell asleep before half-time, but I am loving that the competition means that everyone is suddenly Brazil crazy! There are plenty of Samba beats on the radio, some awesome programmes on the telly, a bit of Beckham, anyone?, and this fantastic Brazilian offering from BirchBox, who’ve even themed their pouch on the hosts colours!!

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But that’s enough rambling from me, let’s get on to the all important products! There seems to have been quite a bit of variation in products this month, but I haven’t seen a box I wouldn’t like to have received yet. There’s a great range of products here, and the little flip-flop key-ring is a really cute accessory that adds that extra bit of fun to the box this month.

BeautyBlender and Solid Cleanser – £26.00

BirchBox really read my mind here, as I’ve been dying to get a hold of one of these for ages! This product also demonstrates why BirchBox is such great value, as already the box price has been matched twice over by the value of the BeautyBlender (representing the US), which you can buy for yourself here! Fabulous! It’s really great to see such an iconic product make an appearance. The idea is the egg shaped sponge can be used for easy stippling, and it’s shape means it can get into hard to reach contours. I haven’t used it myself yet, but I know so many people who swear by it that I just can’t wait! The little box also contains a block of solid cleanser for the sponge – just add some water and you’re good to go. This is great for travelling, as who wants to waste their liquid allowance on make-up brush cleaners?

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion – £12.95 for 250ml

This is a Spanish brand I hadn’t previously heard of, but this lotion contains olive oil, avocado oil, shea butter and aloe, so lots of goodies for the skin! My skin felt lovely and smooth after using this, so I’d really recommend it on that basis, although I wasn’t overly keen on the smell. It didn’t exactly smell bad, but it definitely wasn’t a scent I wanted to sniff all day! However, it does claim to be organic, with 99% of ingredients coming from natural sources, so that’s a good thing. You can pick it up here for slightly less than BirchBox listed it at (£14), and the wooden packaging certainly looks striking!

 TheBalm Cosmetics How About Them Apples? Cheek and Lip Cream – £26 for palette

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I have a funny feeling that this was used in a box before, not too long ago. I didn’t receive it then, so I’m quite happy to have another chance to experience it, but I can see it being quite annoying if some soul gets it in their box twice. However, the packaging is really cute, and it is a lovely wee sample. As a new convert to cream blush I have fallen instantly in love, and am considering picking up the palette when it’s back in stock.

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The shade ‘pie’ is a lovely bright pink colour, and the formula is so creamy it is really easy to blend. It feels like I’ll get quite a bit of use out of this sample size which really bodes well for the longevity of the palette. TheBalm (again team USA) seem to be popping up everywhere these days, and I really am turning into something of a fan. Their packaging is absolutely adorable retro-chic, and, if all of their products meet expectations as well as these blushes, they are going to become a firm fixture in my beauty regime.

Caudalie Vinoperfect SPF Day Perfecting Fluid – £38.00 for 40ml

Given the price of the product this 10ml sample is uber generous! There is a really fine nozzle on the tube, which is great to restrict the amount of product you squeeze out, as a little really does go a long way. The smell is quite clinical, but it absorbs quickly into the skin, and feels very hydrating. I’ve only been using this for a few days, but have noticed that my skin does appear to be smoother. It also contains SPF 15, and it’s always great to see skincare that really does take care of your skin. I’m not sure whether I could afford to buy this again, but if your purse-strings are freer than mine it is a really great product and it’s available here. Allez les bleus!

O P I Nail Laquer – The Brazil Collection – Liquid Sand – £14.50 for mini-set 

HURRY! YOU CAN GET THIS SET FOR £5.75 AT CHEMIST DIRECT. GO NOW!

Ahem.

Not to pick bones or anything, but team USA are at it again! Ok, ok, it’s a very fitting homage to Brazil, all these gorgeous colours! I was lucky enough to receive Samba-dy Loves Purple, great names!, and I can’t get enough of it.

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I’ve always wanted to try the liquid sand formula, but was a bit scared that I’d hate the texture – who wants sandpaper nails? However, the texture is not a problem at all, as although it is grainy, I really wouldn’t describe it as rough. The particles also catch the light for a little glitter without having a too full-on effect. I’ve yet to see how hard-wearing it is, but it’s such a special shade I’d doubt I’d use it as my everyday.


 

So there we go! Another great month from BirchBox –  plenty of goodies for me to play with! I absolutely can’t wait until next month!

What did you think of BirchBox this month? Did you enjoy it as much as me? Let me know in the comments!! xx

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