Monday, 24 November 2014

Motivate Monday

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Staying Motivated

Hello Everyone, 

Something that everyone finds difficult is staying motivated. Whether it is writing an essay, or a new exercise plan, your motivation is going to suffer at some point. They say it takes thirty days to create a habit, but getting through those thirty days are tough. So sometimes you need to employ some motivation techniques to get you through. 

Think about your long term goals. If you know your ultimate goals, then it is much easier to stay motivated. Put up reminders around your house about what it is you're aiming for to keep it in your mind constantly. Make sure this goal is a tangible thing that you are able to definitively say what you have achieved, or measurable. Otherwise it is very easy to get unmotivated and not able to get through the thirty days. 

Make a list of things you have to do to each day. The act of ticking off a task that you have finished on your list is one of the best feelings in the world. It is the feeling of accomplishment that no matter how small, you have done something productive today. You can make multiple lists, a daily one, weekly one, annual one, even a life one. Whatever works for you. I personally make daily lists as I tend to be a little forgetful about all the small tasks I have to do in a day, especially with lots of different deadlines coming up. It helps you prioritise what really needs to be done. 

One of the most important things is to love what you are doing, whether it be part of your job or an exciting new hobby, or even an old one. If you do not love it or enjoy it, you will lose motivation for it so quickly and easily. Also, don't do it to please others. If you do not want to do it, don't (this should be taken in perspective, if its doctor's orders or the law, please follow these to the letter). 

Don't be afraid to mix it up a little. If you find yourself in a bit of a rut, you love what you're doing, but are unexcited by the content of it, then change it around. Do something a little different, go to a class, or change your routine. For instance, when I've got a touch or writer's block with my posts, I will move from my laptop to a pad and pen. The change gets my creative juices flowing, and I think in a different way. 

As well as achieving your goal being a reward, why not give yourself short-term rewards? When you reach a certain point on your list, or reach a milestone in achieving your goal, have little reward for yourself. It could be a big thing, or a small thing. Whenever I finish a blog post or a homework assignment, or get so much studying done, I will reward myself with a cup of tea, and twenty minutes of no thinking time. It refreshes me for my next task, and gives me the motivation to finish one. When I reach a big goal, I will normally reward myself with a little shopping splurge, like a new dress, or top or skirt or whatever. But just one thing, otherwise it would get pretty expensive.

What keeps you motivated? What are your goals that you want to stay motivated for? Try some of these tips, or feel free to suggest others in the comments below, or by tweeting me @lifeinthedeen

Friday, 21 November 2014

Five on Friday

Hello Everyone, 

This week's Five on Friday (hosted by AprilDarciChristina and Natasha) has been inspired by what is happening in my life at the minute. As I am writing this, I have so many cravings for British food, and pretty much no way of getting them. So multiple cups of tea are going to have to do. But I thought I would share with you some of the things I am craving. 

  1. As much chocolate as I want (and could) eat at once. At the moment I have two thirds of a sharing Galaxy bar that my mum has sent me (thank you so much). However, I don't want to eat it all at once, as I know I will have more chocolate cravings before I go home, and will need something. 
  2. Super noodles. I don't really eat them, but I so want some right now. If I had to say exactly what I want with them, it would have to be some mince a la Gran. So a lovely meal straight from my childhood really. 
  3. Strong salt and vinegar crisps. I think I have mentioned this before, as I am always in the mood for them. As strong as you can get them, almost sweating from the vinegar. 
  4. Vinegar. The canteen hall here has started to serve battered fish, which reminds me a little of fish fingers in their texture, and of course they always serve fries, so I can have some fish and chips. However, it will never be even close to fish and chips out of the chippy (or mum's kitchen) when there isn't any chip shop vinegar to go with them. Anyone can verify that I love my vinegar and when its missing it just isn't the same. 
  5. Pretty much anything that comes out of my mum's kitchen. At the moment I would probably eat an omelette if my mum had made it. Although what I am really missing is one of her curries, or her Thai fish dish. Although I would be happy with just a whole cake as well, so I'm easy really. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Letters From America: Living With a Roommate

Hello Everyone, 

A roommate is a foreign concept to most university students. Even when you are living in halls you will probably have your own room. So some people when they move to the USA for their exchange year have never shared a room before. And suddenly, they are thrust into spending at least ten hours a day with someone they have never met before. It is a huge shock, forcing you to re-adjust  how you live and go about your day to day lives. 

I got lucky with my room-mate, we get along so well. We're about the same level of tidiness (that is, we let it build up until we can't deal with it, and then have a deep-clean day). We work pretty similarly and can spend hours in the quiet doing school work. We like doing the same things (namely, watching rubbish movies together and eating ice-cream and nachos). We can talk to each other about anything, and do anything together. We have the same opinions on life. We get along so well that her family have invited me to Washington to join them for Thanksgiving. 

The bond you have with someone who you are sharing so much space and time with is something that cannot be replicated. You will either be friends or not, but it is so much more fun when you're friends. It can be likened to boyfriend/girlfriend relationship as you are living together, but without the sex. However, if there are disagreements, or something irritating you, then talk it out. Don't be afraid to say something about it. It's your room too you know. You have a right to say if something annoys you, or you don't like it. Nevertheless, don't go nit-picking. Compromise is needed. It is also their room, it can't be a dictatorship, on either side. 

Make sure you have just roommate bonding time. Sydney and I bonded, as well as through doing the everyday stuff together, through a really unlikely thing. I was watching Charmed on Netflix, and Sydney came in, and realised what I was watching. Turns out, she loves the show too. So every so often, we have a Charmed marathon. Make sure that if you do this, it is just the two of you, even when you share friends. 

I love my roommate, and I am so glad that I got her. I have heard horror stories of people having roommates that they just don't get along with, and it sounds awful. Thank you Sydney for being so great, and I can't wait to live with you again next semester. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Letters From America: Reflections

Hello Everyone, 

I'm almost halfway through my time in the US, which is quite sad. I've learned a lot of things and made a lot of friends. I've grown as a person, and discovered things I would never have realised about the world.

One thing I have learned to appreciate is a slower way of life. In this part of the USA, most of the native New Mexicans have a unique way of life, in that slower is always better. There is very little urgency when you need to get somewhere, a fact epitomized by the bus system. It'll get you places, just never expect to get anywhere in a hurry. It is nice in a way, you learn to appreciate the quiet, and not being too stressed. However, it can be irritating when you are stressing out about the amount of work you have to do, and you get told, 'just calm down', 'take a step back' or worse, 'take a chill pill'.

Another thing I have discovered is that solo travel isn't anything to be afraid of. Most of the time it will go okay and there will be no worries. If I can do it, anyone can. Just be prepared, and don't over stress about things. Getting to the airport three hours early for your flight will also help.

Don't be afraid to try new things. I always really tried to do things like this, but to completely submerge yourself in another culture puts you completely out of your comfort zone. All you want to do is hold onto your heritage as hard as you can and never let go. And in doing so, you will never let yourself really experience it. Just let go and go to everything that you can. Go for everything and anything.

You can't be everything to everyone. Just be yourself and you will help. Sometimes you have to say no to people, in spite of how bad you feel about it. People will not hold grudges if you have to turn them down once in a while. The first time saying no is the hardest, but it will get easier. Don't refuse people all the time though, because life will get boring otherwise.

You're stronger than you know. You've got more opinions and more beliefs ingrained in you than you expect, and you shouldn't be afraid to stand up for these beliefs. Nobody should make you feel inferior or stupid for believing in them, just because they're different from theirs. There are ignorant people in the world, and it is not your job to educate all of them. Just the ones who are open to new ideas and views. The problem is spotting who is open. But follow your instincts and they won't lead you too wrong.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

These are a Few of my Favourite Things


Hello Everyone, 

This Tuesday I am doing something slightly different. I am taking part in a holiday link up party hosted by A Liz AdventuresCheers Y'allMiss Dixie and Southern Style to help us, and you, get on top of Christmas shopping and planning. This week is all about me, and what I want for Christmas. 

Dr Martins
This style has grown on me. Having not believed that they would suit me until I went into the shop to try a pair on, I now have made it my mission to own a pair. However, I'm not entirely sure what style I want to go for, or colour. So here's three very different pairs for you to decide. Let me know what pair you like the best in the comments below. 
These cherry red Dr Martins are a twist on the classic black combat boots in the Dr Martin collection. Perfect for anyone wanting to stand out this Christmas. 
Price: £100 from the website (click above to go straight there) and free delivery to within the UK. 
These are heels with a difference. These Sadie Boots are perfect for a girly-girl with a bit on an edge. Pair these with a leather jacket and a skater dress and you're ready to take on the world. 
Price: £130 from the website (click 'Source' above to go straight there) with free delivery to within the UK. 

Is it just me that thinks the colour on these boots is fantastic. Rather than the traditional leather, suede with a distressed metallic effect has been used. I think it looks amazing, not something you really see around. 
Price: £90 from the website (Source link above) and free delivery from within the UK

Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus
The new Rick Riordan book is out, and I can't wait to read it. The final book in the Heroes of Olympus book, all sorts of questions are going to be answered: will the heroes beat Octavian and the Roman legion before an all out war between the camps erupts? Is splitting up really the right decision in order to stop Gaia from rising? And most importantly, will Leo ever be able to stop the Argo II from blowing up? 
Price: in link above from Amazon Kindle Edition: £5.69, Hardback: £7.00, Paperback: £8.00 (used)

Naked Palette
There are three of these available, but I think if I am to start off, might as well get the original. Neutral shades of eye-shadow for any look, neutral never looked so good. 
Price: £37.00

Bloch Foot Wrap

Just another pair of dancing shoes, sort of. It will give me more diversity on the floor and with the style of dances I can do.
Price: £14.95

Exercise Band:

Given my new love of the gym and exercise (and of course dance), these are perfect. I can build up strength with them, and try some new exercises that I have been dying to, but I needed a resistance band in order to do them. 
Price: £10.00

I hope you liked my Christmas wishlist, and I will be taking part in next week's link up Stocking Stuffer ideas. Can't wait to see you there. 

Friday, 14 November 2014

Five on Friday

Hello Everyone, 

Today's Five on Friday (hosted by AprilDarciChristina and Natasha) is my top-five make-up hacks that I've picked up along the way to either make putting on my make-up easier or quicker. 

1. Foundation: I'm not one for liquid foundation normally, just powder and concealer. However, some days when I need slightly more coverage, or am going from day to night pretty quickly, I will use it. So, to save me a little time, and reduce the coverage, stopping the 'cakey' look that can happen, when I am putting on my moisturiser, I mix a little of the foundation into it, and then apply with my fingers. I normally use a ratio of about 60:30 of moisturiser to foundation, but if you want more coverage, then you can use more foundation. To blend this out and into my concealer properly, I also use my powder brush (with no powder on it) to quickly blend everything together, and then powder to set.

2. Eye-liner: To create the perfect wing every time that is even on both sides, angle your brush, line pen, what ever you use from the bottom of your nose to your eye, and draw along that line. 

3. Nail polish: If your nail polish is getting a little gloopy and dried out, then just add a couple of drops of polish remover to the polish, and mix it up. It will be much thinner and easier to apply again. 

4. Lipstick: To keep the colour strong for longer, I blot with a paper tissue twice, reapplying the colour each time. For longer staying power though, lastly I blot again for a third time, with only one layer of the tissue, also dusting with translucent powder. It mattifies the colour and keeps it in place all day. 

5. Lipstick: To stop myself from getting lipstick on my teeth, I make an O with my mouth and put my index finger in and slowly pull it out. Problem solved. 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Self Confidence

Hello Everyone, 

Self confidence is something I have always struggled with, that is, I don't really have too much of it. Most people will suffer from self confidence issues at some point in their life, and people who say they haven't are lying. Who hasn't questioned themselves or their actions or the way they look at some point in their lives? Nobody is completely sure of themselves all the time, it isn't possible.

Life throws you some curve-balls at times that make you question whether what you are doing is right. We all have existential crises now and again. It is what makes us human, and gives us the ability to change. When you next start questioning where your life is going, don't let yourself get bogged down on the questions, but actually look at your answers. It doesn't matter whether the questions are something as simple as 'Do I look nice in this outfit?' to 'Where is my life going? What am I doing with it?' If you aren't completely happy with some of your answers, then find a way to change them. Don't let feeling sorry for yourself bog you down from taking your life and making it your own. Only by questioning ourselves can we learn and grow as a person and get better.

But beware. If you are constantly questioning yourself and can never feel like you've done a good job, then what you need to do is concentrate on the things you've done well, the positives in a situation. Think of one thing that you did well, just one thing, and your confidence levels will soar. Nobody can get everything right all the time, and you have accept that. If you need help with the way you look, the same principle applies. Find one thing that you like about yourself, every day, and slowly it will get easier to see what other people see and love. Your confidence levels will rise, and you will be happier with the way you look. It's not always just the physical look, it's all in the mental attitude to yourself.

If you find that your confidence levels soar when you get other people's approval, then that's a good thing. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and someone reinforcing your thoughts on something that you've done helps. However, if you also find that if your confidence levels drop extremely when you get criticism, especially from someone that you care about and want them to think highly of you, be careful. Yes, take on board their criticism, and try to change it the next time, but nobody can change the past. You have to use it to alter the future. And if there is that one person that is constantly on your back about something, then ask yourself 'why is that?' Is it something you are doing, or is it their problem. Even if it is your problem, remember this: 'haters gonna hate.' There is always going to be someone who will never see what you see, or value what you value, and that's okay. A little bit of encouragement and criticism from people is good, but too much of either will make you complacent or completely discouraged. Keep everything in perspective.

I subscribe to the belief that self-confidence is not something that you always have, but something that you put on to others. You make others believe that you are self-confident in order to foster trust in a relationship, because who could trust someone who constantly questioned themselves every time they had to make a decision. It is how you get by in life, by pretending to have confidence in what you do, even when you don't. Remember this when you are next questioning your life or relationships. Everyone does it. Everybody is a person who lacks confidence in someway or another, and needs to blag their way through at some stage. Everybody suffers self-doubt. So don't let that scare you from taking a risk because most people will admire you for it. Don't ask 'why me?' Ask why not me? And you will be unstoppable.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

My Love/Hate Realtionship with... Beauty Bloggers

Hello Everyone, 

I love beauty blogs. I could spend all day sitting and reading make-up reviews, make-up and styling tips. I love make-up tutorials and tips, tricks and hacks to make putting on your make-up much easier and quicker. Seeing people use the products that they write about is one of my favourite things to do. Watching video reviews is an interesting thing to do as well. There are countless ways to get into beauty blogging, and do it successfully. There is a reason that there are more beauty blogs than any other kind, as there is so much scope to put your own spin on it, and ways to get pretty successful pretty quickly.

However, as much as I love beauty blogs, and the personas behind them (because that's what keeps you coming back as much as the content), I have some small problems with them.

If there isn't a strong persona behind the blog, then no matter what their content is, and how good a review or product or tutorial it is, it gets very boring to read. However, not everyone has this ability to put across a well-put together persona behind their blog. It can be something as simple as they don't seem friendly enough when you're reading or watching to something as huge as the design of the blog. It's all these little things that make a big difference.

There are so many out there. There isn't quite enough time for me to read all the new beauty bloggers out there that I want to so I tend to stick to my favourites. This means that quite often I will be reading about the same products again and again, with generally similar reviews. So it becomes a bit boring to read about again and again and again.

Also, many of the beauty bloggers will not review too many truly high street brands, the best reviews will be centred around much more expensive brands which the general person is not able to afford. This makes reading beauty product reviews rather jarring as you know you cannot afford to pay £50 for a foundation, no matter how good it is. It would have to be miraculous in fact for me to want to spend that much on foundation (I don't really wear it that much). Also, reading some reviews of products only available in say, America (not too much of a problem at the moment) is also annoying as even if the product is reasonably priced, the package and posting will always put it out of the normal person's price range.

However, no matter how many problems I find with beauty bloggers, I am never going to stop reading them. I like make-up too much (and most of my problems stem from the fact I am slightly jealous that I don't look like them, can't (don't have time to) apply make-up as well as them, and that I can't yet afford their lifestyles.) But I will get there one day, and so can you too.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Difficulties of being a Student Blogger

Hello Everyone, 

I've read so many posts on other blogs about how their blogs are written, and how they choose their content for their posts. One thing I have noticed is that the blogs I read are written by full time bloggers or stay-at-home mothers. Now, I love reading their blogs, but I always feel bad that I don't post as often as they do, or spend as much time blogging as they do. But I do just try to remember that I am a student. It isn't always possible for me to blog everyday, or have time to get ahead with posts. My studies have to come first, no matter how much I want to spend three hours a day working on my blog and the content and photos.

As a student we are stuck in a sort of limbo between childhood and teenage years, and being an actual adult. We have some of the qualities of both sides, and some that are completely unique to us alone. As generally, we don't have 'on, off' hours. There is no sign-out for us. Our hours are completely set to us, apart from the time we decide to go to class. This means that often free time is very busy really. We will have occasional nights off from our reading, homework, lectures, tests and studying to rest, and sleep. So finding the motivation on these nights to do something other than that is so difficult. I'm sure that the many stay-at-home mothers/bloggers feel the same, looking after children is a full time and tiring job, which I admire them for. However, children can be left to amuse themselves for a couple of hours a day, giving the mums free time to work on their blogs. Student jobs and tasks cannot be left, or they will not get done. Some days you are fighting to get four hours of sleep, let alone time to do anything else. So time is a commodity that many students do not have.

Another major limitation that students have in the way of blogging is money, or rather, a lack of it. There are two main platforms for free blogging: Blogger and Wordpress. However, if you are looking for something slightly more professional and custom-able to your own vision, you need some money for an annual subscription. This is pretty big commitment to someone who is probably just trying it out. Along with this base price, if you want to advertise your blog on social media, you will need to pay for that. Then if you want to advertise on another blogger's blog, then that costs too. Plus, for professional looking photos, there is the photo editing software for your computer and of course the camera itself and all the gadgets that go along with it. We are lucky enough to be living in an age that most of us have a camera in our pocket as our phones, but with this move in technology, the best looking photos are still done on a professional cameras. This all costs a lot. And students do not have the most money at the best of times. We generally do not have a full-time wage coming in and can just about afford the basics, along with the hope to save enough to pay off our loans (eventually). This lack of money means that it is much harder for a student-budget blog to stand out from the crowd that is the blogosphere.

I am not saying that it is impossible for a student-budget blog to make it. It will just require a lot of time and effort (and a lot of sleepless nights), probably more than other 'adult' blogs will have had to. However, despite these barriers to breaking into the industry, blogging still remains a huge passion of mine. I feel that all the work is worth it when I see how people react to my posts. And I'm still discovering more and more about the world of blogging every time I do it. There are ways around all the barriers above, whether it is better budgeting, or finding another way around it. So don't allow these things to stand in your way if you want to start. Grab your computer and some wifi, and off you go.