Headspace - Take 10 Review

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Let me start off by saying I have some pretty awesome friends and one of my friends pointed me in the direction of Headspace after I was talking about how my anxiety was getting out of control on Twitter. I'd heard of Headspace when it first launched, but really didn't care about meditation and back then it was bloody expensive. But when she mentioned it to me, I was like you know what it wouldn't do any harm to try it again. I've tried meditation apps and some of them have been great, I've just never been consistent with it. 

Take 10 from Headspace is a 10 minute guided meditation challenge that you do consecutively for 10 days. They call meditation the 'gym for the mind' and after my experience, I really do believe them! They encourage you to practice mindfulness through meditation, and they encourage you to start with 10 minutes out of your day. The wonderful things is that the Take 10 challenge is free, so after that you can decide whether or not you want to go ahead and purchase one of their memberships and explore different parts. I've been fortunate enough to have access to paid account to see what else is there and there's a whole range of topics on there such as eating, sleeping, relationships and self esteem. I've decided I will be purchasing a membership package. 

Anyway I thought I would share my experience and challenges that I encountered whilst doing the challenge. P.S It took me more than ten days! 

Day 1 - Tuesday 15th September - I did this in the evening. I don't have a chair in my room that has a back, so I decided to sit upright in my bed. I followed the meditation and found that it was so simple to follow and that 10 minutes went past so quickly. I didn't find myself wondering when it would be over and it didn't feel weird at all to have 10 minutes with my thoughts just going over me. In fact at some point it felt good to let my mind wonder because I had this designated time for it. I felt SO clam after and really happy with myself that I'd managed to do it. I slept like a frikkin baby that night. I also did yoga before the meditation too. 

Day 2 - Wednesday 16th September - This was not a good day in terms of meditation. I was a little high off the success and feeling of my meditation the night before. However, I just found that I was super distracted (which isn't such a bad thing in meditation) but I just couldn't focus. I kept wondering when the 10 minutes would be up and when it was done and didn't feel like anything good had come of it.

Day 3 - Thursday 17th September - I found that this was a good day for me, I also had by therapy session and I had mentioned to my therapist that I was doing it and he thought it was great. I had similar feelings like those that I had on Tuesday, I was able to concentrate a lot better and it felt a good use of those 10 minutes.

Day 4 - Friday 18th September - I was a bit worried this day as to when I'd find the time to do this. My friend was coming round and we would be drinking, so I definitely wasn't going to meditate then nor was I going to sleep at any decent hour anyway. So I decided to do it after I got back from work, I waited about an hour and then started. It was really good, as it was the end of the week my thoughts usually reflect back to things that happen and usually I give myself a hard time about things, but during the meditation I was able to let these thoughts come and go without dwelling on them.

Day 5 - Saturday 19th September - I spent the rest of my weekend at my sisters and with my two nephews who are 3 and 2, safe to say I was incredibly worn out. I still decided to go ahead with the meditation and yup it didn't go so well - I actually felt asleep for like a minute or so! So I packed it in at about eight minutes and just went to bed. Hey, sleep is just as important as meditation :P

Day 6 - Sunday 20th September - This session went okay, I'd had a good weekend and was sufficiently exhausted and was just read to get some chill time away from everything so I really enjoyed my whole 10 minutes.

Day 7 - Monday 21st September - This just went so badly. I had barely had any sleep from the night before so I was just waiting to go to bed and therefore I was incredibly tired whilst doing the meditation. I spent a lot of time fighting the urge to sleep, rather than focusing on what was being said. There's a point in the meditation where you're just counting your breath up to 10 and it's a sure way to put you to sleep! I finished off my 10 minutes but I knew I did not give it my all.

Day 8 - Wednesday 23rd September - So I skipped out Tuesday, I had a horrible day on Tuesday and it was not a job for meditation to solve. Wednesday was also rough but it was not as bad as Tuesday, so thankfully I was able to use healthier tactics to cope with what I was feeling. My practice that say was really good

Day 9 - Thursday 24th September - This started off good but then I realised how tired I was and though "oh boy, here we go again" I actually decided to open my eyes and continue with the rest of the meditation otherwise I would have just been snoozing! It was a good session though.

Day 10 - Saturday 26th September - So on Friday I was lucky enough to win tickets to see Disclosure at Apple Music Festival, which meant I'd be out in the evening and before that, I just didn't have enough time so my practice took place on Saturday. I was a good session but more than anything I was super happy that I'd managed to finish it off! I even went on to listen to some of the intros for eating and commuting, and that's when I decided I needed to purchase myself a membership.

I thought it would be helpful to give an day by day snippet of how I got on to show that nope, it wasn't perfect at all times, but I stuck with it. I'm not sure what it was about this challenge but I really wanted to see the ten days through, I don't stick with a lot of things so I was determined to do this. I absolutely love Andy's voice, it's soothing and calming. I think that's an important thing when it comes to guided meditation - the voice you're listening too, I've been put off many guided meditations simply because of the voice or the tone of voice. So all in all my experience was a good one, I struggled at times but I kept preserving because I was noticing how good I felt when it was done properly. 

I loved setting aside 10 minutes of my day, I just kept saying to myself "it's only 10 minutes, you can do this."  Also I thought I'm doing this for me, so why on earth shouldn't I persevere? When you buy a membership you have the chance to do a 20 minute or 30 minute guided meditation in the same style, or move on to the different topics using mindfulness. I'm really excited to start this journey, I'm not sure if it's just where I am in my life but I really feel like I connected with this. Hopefully this coupled with my current therapy can put me in a more positive mindset. I'll keep you all updated!

Have you had any experience with meditation? Let me know how you got on AND do check out Headspace.

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What's on the wishlist

Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's that time of the year again in the UK when it starts to get cold and all you want to do is go home and crawl under your duvet for warmth and peace. Because most of my days are like that, I decided to take a look at my wish list/to buy list and then decided to put them together for this post. Because y'know, I have time on my hands people, even if I have no money!
Items to buy

For some reason I am really into primers. I can’t honestly say that I notice my make-up lasting longer because I don’t test any foundations with a primer and because I have oily skin, I’m always powdering away. I really like primers because I like that barrier between my skin and the foundation. 

1 - Revlon PhotoReady Prime + Anti-Shine Balm - I've read some good things about this product. It's in a balm formula which isn't something I've ever come across in a primer but main thing that sold me on this was its promise to minimise the look of pores and to create a matte finish. It can also be used over make-up to remove the shine from the oil build up. As this is available in Boots and is inexpensive, I've popped it on the list as I know it's something I will pick up eventually. I'm just hoping it's as good as I want it to be because seriously I cannot fork out for the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, no matter how much I love it.

2 - Khiels Micro Blur Skin Perfector - This is a primer hybrid thing. I have actually wanted this one for year, I rememeber Amelia talking about it in one of her beauty videos and really wanted it then. Lately I have seen it pop up in various videos and it just reminded me how much I wanted it. Like the Revlon one it promises to blur imperfections (titles in the name folks) leaving you with a smooth canvas to put the rest of your make-up on. 

3 - Ginvera Marvel Gel with Green Tea -  Oh skin care how I love you. Korean skincare has had quite a buzz about it for a while, and well me? I just love me some green tea, so when I saw this on Cult Beauty I was intrigued. I love exfoliating products and I'm always trying to find one that I can see results from. I popped this on my list and must remember to buy it at some point - it will be my first purchase from Cult Beauty!

4 & 5 - Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush & Makeup Greek Rounded Blush Brush - Brushes, brushes, brushes. Probably one of my favourite things about beauty, even though I don't own a lot and what I do own are medium quality. But I dunno, I just love how they have a different use for a different stage of make-up application. I love my RT buffing brush but I've seen the BB doing the rounds on blogs for over a year and I'm just ready to take my brush game to the next level. Defintely one for a wishlist though because I dunno who I think I am to be spending £30+ on a brush! I'm after the Makeup Greek brush because I need a dedicated blush brush and I want it to be small and concentrated like this brush.

6 -Illamsqua Powder Blusher in Thrust - I'm forever searching for blush for darker skin tones. For some reason blush is my favourite thing when it comes to make-up. I think it's something about adding colour to my face. I barely wear eyeshadow, so really my blusher is the only colourful thing I will apply to my face. This shade is gorgeous, it's described as a deep magenta pink and Illamasqua is a brand I've heard a fair bit about, but not one that I thought I would ever want anything from. Must.get.my.hands.on.this.

7 - Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser - I have had this in my to buy bookmark for ages. I just always forget that it's there. Like I said before, I love me some good exfoliation and I'm willing to search high and low for my perfect one. This one has good reviews and Clarins is a well known brand, so I'm willing to give it a shot.

8 - Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue for Lips and Cheeks in Chocolate Cherry - I'm sure this was in my birthday list and it's still something on my list now because I just love the colour of this product. I also like that it's versatile enough in colour to be something that I would actually use on my lips and cheek. The colour would suit my skin tone for both uses. I don't think this is particularly pricey either, I'm just forgetful/lazy. 

9 - NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - I haven't used a concealer in yooooooonks. Not because I don't have blemishes or things that I want to cover up (I wish) but because I find actually my foundation does a pretty good job of covering it up. Anything else on my skin is just hyperpigmentation and requires colour correction (something I don't do either). This concealer is raved about by everyone, for ages I didn't even think it came in a dark shade because I only saw lighter skinned ladies using it but then I saw more women of colour using it and praising it on YouTube and I was like I must have this. I think for me personally I would use it for highlighting bits of my face. I dunno even the name just makes me want to have it, it sounds a bit like a dessert. 

So that's my list, I hope I've given you some ideas for things you may want to try out, or just post on your list. What things are on your wish list?

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Thoughts on what you are not

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Happy Hump Day all! I thought today would be the perfect day to share this post with you all, as it might get you over the last of the working week quicker and feel better about yourself.


Enough is enough with the constant war on myself.

With the volunteering I do for mental health I've always been told I'm so brave to share my story and live my life despite my difficulties, but in light of any of that I've never felt brave. I know that blogging so openly about my mental health in a word that stigamatises it is quite risky and I've been called brave on so many occasions for doing so. I think about it and I think it's good to share my story, but it still doesn't take away my illness. I still feel in my core the very things I write about and share and they still sit inside me rotting me away. But I'm tired. I am tired of waging a war on myself because I feel I have to be 100x better because I have an illness that makes me feel like I am nothing. I think in the struggle to defeat my illness I enhance it because I live in a society where people are just actually better than me. That's just it. There are people doing more exciting things than me, people happier than me, people funnier than me and the list goes on. But I've come to that point where I have to just let that be.

We all have a journey and a role, and sometimes I think just taking a step back and assessing your life objectively is the best way to see your role. Trying to be everything is exhausting, and often, untrue to yourself. Sometimes chasing a way of what you think you should be will trap you in an endless cycle of misery, as you struggle to attain the unattainable. 

The thing with depression is you feel empty. The thing with low self-esteem is you never feel good enough. I struggle with both so these feelings are bound to plague me. But it's worth nothing that being a female in her early twenties means I have doubts about being good enough, because I'm just at the stage in my life, and well because I'm human. For me it can be hard to differentiate between what is an illness and what is just general life thoughts. The thing with spending all your time wondering if you're enough is it consumes your energy to actually be good at the things you're already good at, or could be good at. So it's a vicious cycle of what is what, and how do I fix myself? But I'm not broken.I have an illness that takes away a lot from me, and in my fight to fix what I am not, I keep forgetting what I'm up against.

I've come to realise always had a thing about being "perfect" things can go really well, but I will pick out what did not go well and negate the rest. Wondering about what you are not is a waste of time. You cannot be everything, nor should you really want to be. To always focus on what we are not, means we never appreciate what we are. 
Not funny enough, not active enough, not clever enough. Not enough.
To tell yourself this repeatedly is a sure to way to ensure that stay stuck in a cycle of "not enough." You're enough as you are, and you're enough when you're happy and doing good.

One quote that I read years and and has always stuck with me is "Comparison is the thief of joy" So much of our lives is spent comparing ourselves to others that we ever rarely appreciate how good we are now and just how far we've come. Mental illness or not we're all guilty of what I've written about today and it's time for a breath of fresh air and pat on the back. As much as we'd all like to "get over it" life can get incredibly tough and dark and it's at these points you realise that you've got to take the pressure off yourself and know that you're good enough. Everyone has their own journey, and whilst you can feel like you're not doing what everyone else is because you don't have enough money/don't have a partner/don't have this skill/you're ill, know that you have great things coming for you and not everything has to be now now now. In the mean time I plan to not devalue myself, my friends or my life because of what I think I/they/it should be or because of what other people have.

P.S I'm finding yoga and meditation very helpful, it makes my head a lot clearer!

P.P.S Jess Glynne says it all here 

Img credit: 1

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Duty Free Shopping

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Aside from the excitement of being on holiday, I was really excited for my holiday because of duty free shopping in MAC! I had my list ready and was hoping to get my hands on a couple of bits. However they didn't stock the lipstick shade or highlighter colour that I wanted (I was in the Luton airport, so go figure). I did however end up with foundation that I wanted which is MAC's Studio Fix Power Plus Foundation.

I wear a liquid foundation at all times. I've tried a cream one from Sleek which I enjoyed but my preference really is liquid foundations for their ease of application. I think it Jackie Aina who said she used this MAC foundation as a touch up when she was on the go because it's a powder foundation.

I'm still yet to actually use this all over my face as a power foundation on its own, somehow I can't quite get my head around how it's suppose to work. I feel like a powder needs something to sit on. Also my face is too dark for all over use at the moment. Currently I use my Sleek CC cream (so happy to be using this up) in Dark and then use the powder in the center parts of my face. I picked this up in the shade NW46 and it works perfectly together to mimick the natural colour of my skin. I went to meet a friend for dinner last week and she said my skin looked so fresh and really I have the powder to thank, as I reapplied before I left!

The next thing I picked up was Fantasy by Britney Spears. I didn't think I'd actually got that much off the retail price,but as I've gone to link it I just realised I paid £5 less - so win! I didn't actually plan to buy any perfume but after following my friend around the perfume section, I realised that I didn't bring any perfume with me. So I quickly picked this one up.

I've loved this perfume for years but I've never owned it. Growing up I had loads of scents that I loved but perfume was just never a thing for me. When Aisling mentioned it in one of her favourites it went straight on my list to buy, but I just never got round to it. I used throughout my holiday obviously, but now that I'm back it's still the one that I'm reaching for. It's just so sweet and I love sweet scents. Reading post that are soley about perfume bores me because I just feel like nothing will really gives you an accurate description, unless you like know your scents. All I know is sweet or fruity or whatever. However as I've looked it up to link I've also come across the notes of the perfume. I won't pretend for a second I'm used to describing things in notes but for those that are interested:
Top Note: Lush red lychee, golden quince and exotic kiwi.
Middle Note: Delicious cupcake accord, jasmine petals and sexy white chocolate orchid.
Base Note: Creamy musk, enchanted orris root and sensual woods

I thought I'd throw this last purchase in, even though I didn't buy it in Duty Free. This I purchased from House of Fraser with a gift card I was given when I left my last job. I first heard about this perfume from Aisling and then I managed to get a sample in an order from Feel Unique last December and since then I was hooked. It smells SO good. Again it's another sweet scent, and if you click the link about you can find out the notes in the perfume. It's eye wateringly expensive but then I remembered I had the gift card and I was like "YES come to me!" I shall be using this sparingly so it last for ages because no, I am not a baller. 

So that's it for my recent purchases. I have to kerb my spending considering I've just booked to go to New York for my 25th birthday, so I need to pay it off and save for it, on top of my normal savings. But exciting times ahead. What bits have you picked up recently?

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September Book List

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

So I'm quite late with this one, but in my defense I was on holiday and this isn't really the kind of post you can write in advance. But it's here and I am feeling quite confident in my ability to finish my goodreads challange, as I manage to finish two books whilst on holiday, leaving me only 2 books behind. I managed to finish 5 books in August, which was great because in I managed just one, and I think my disappointment was quite evident in my August Book List.

I finished off Forgive Me, Leonard and quickly made a start on When Mr Dog Bites. Forgive Me, Leonard was a good read but it ended on a dead note. It did have a powerful part near the ending though. When Mr Dog Bites was so insightful and enjoyable, it's a about a teenage boy with Tourettes and it's just him simply living his life and all the things that go on. I think I enjoyed it a lot because I've never read a book about Torettes. After those two I had run out of books, so I quickly went back to my list and I ended up picking Hausfrau, I really really enjoyed this book. It did mull about in the characters sadness for a bit, but honestly that's what I loved about it. There wasn't anything in this book that I could relate to but, I still found it to be interesting and well written.

The next two I read when I was on holiday. I picked The Ex-Factor because it had been sitting in my basket for ages. I'm glad I read it, but it was so bloody long and boring towards the end, it was more the case of 'how many problems can I fit into this one book' by the end than an actual story. I found most things to do be long winded and just thought some of the characters were incredibly stupid and really failed to believe in some of them. Nevertheless it wasn't awful, but it just didn't have a resolve at the end that made you think it was worth reading. The next book I read whilst I was away was Coming Clean: A Memoir, I purchased this from the Kindle Daily Deals and didn't realise it was memoir until I opened it up by the pool. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I don't recognise the woman who wrote it but it does seem she is sort of well known in America, but much like When Mr Dog Bites, it covered a topic I'd never thought much about or read much about. This book is about her two parents who are hoaders and how she grew up with it and the effects on her life. It's such a well written book with no aggression towards the parents who had the condition. That's not to say there are not times she was angry with them, but the book just never reads bitter in relation to them. It was such an insight into this condition and how parts of it works and how it effects children brought up. I really enjoyed it.

So after my long-winded recap, I think it's time to move on to the books for this month!

How You Can Talk to Anyone in Every Situation by Emma Sargent - I put this in my Amazon basket after Sammi mentioned it in a video. It sounds like something right up my street and with my new job having a more social aspect, I thought it was the perfect time for me to pick it up. I'm looking forward to reading this and I hope it has some practical and usable advice for me to take away. I've flicked through it and it seems good so far.

Shoot the Damn Dog by Sally Brampton - This was in my Amazon basket and really is just part of the bunch of depression related books I put in my basket. I attempted to read this on the flight home, but I read the first two pages before sleep took over. I'm in a good place right now with my depression, so I figured it would be a good time to continue with experiencing other people's story.

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi - I'm a huge fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and it's made me want to read more books that focus on the Nigerian/Ghanaian culture. This book came up in books similar to Americanah by Chimamanda and it's been sitting in my basket for the longest time, so I figured it was time to read it. I wanted to get a really varied range of books for this month, so I figured this would help to add to it.

So that's my list for this month, two physical books and then one on the kindle. Wish me luck! Have you read anything exciting this month? Please do share it with me!

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Ibiza 2015

Sunday, 6 September 2015

So on Friday I came back from a week in Ibiza. I had so so much fun and definitely would visit the it sometime again. I didn't take a lot of pictures out there because I couldn't be bothered to lug my camera there and my phone camera quality is rubbish. I did however manage a couple of snaps of the sunset and some beaches so I thought I'd share those!

I'm so sad to have come back to a cold, gloomy England but it makes me more determined to get away to somewhere sunny this time next year!

My next stop is Dublin - I can't wait!

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