Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)

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Benefit Brow Bar Experience: Wax & Tint

In a couple of weeks I’ll be turning 21 and instead of tackling all of the proper issues that are going on within this time, like reevaluating my future, my ideals and relationships,  I chose to get my eyebrows done professionally. Because I’m a woman now.

I have only ever had my eyebrows done once before and that was through a friend. Other than that I have no experience with professional beauty services and I was both excited and pretty nervous to try something.

I’d heard about Benefit’s brow services through Brogan Tate’s vlogs (I freaking love this girl. You need to watch her) and as I am currently using some of their brow products, I thought I would be able to trust them.

Disclaimer: I am a total novice when it comes to eyebrows so this is my subjective opinion. It is all my own and I am not being payed to say this (I wish I was!)

BOOKING

The whole process was pretty simple to be honest, which was a relief. I decided quite late in the evening on Saturday that I wanted to get my brows done and booked the appointment online for the next day. All I had to do was fill in some basic details, as in my email address, name and contact details and I was all booked in.

The form gives you the option to pick the service you want, obviously, with plenty of opportunity to alter it later. It also allows you to pick a preference of who will do the work for you. As I had no experience in this field, I allowed the service to pick for me.

Despite the fact I am currently based in a small city (my university home) I found that both Benefit counters in my local shopping centre offered brow services. I chose to go with the counter in Debenhams but I believe those in Boots also offer it too. You can check out what’s by you here.

APPOINTMENT

So I turned up at the Benefit counter, albeit slightly nervous and tired after shopping, and was greeted by a lovely girl called Ashleigh who had been named on my appointment form as the girl who was going to do my brows. She ran through a couple of forms with me and give me the option to do a patch test. As I have had my brows tinted before and I have used several hair dyes all without a reaction, I was able to decline this and get straight on with my appointment.

If you do require a patch test, a new appointment will be booked for you after the required time period. I just wanted mine done then and there and wasn’t too fussed.

I was asked to fill out a form claiming I had declined the patch test, as well as confirming I was not on any medications nor had I done any of the things listed on the list. Things like sunbeds were listed as these can cause issues with your skin, which may lead to a reaction. You can check out Benefits requirements here. 

WAXING & TINTING

brow-2
Final Brow w/ Makeup On

What I really enjoyed and appreciated within my appointment was at every stage, Ashleigh would stop and let me have a look so I could see the process and also get her to change anything if necessary.

Before she did anything to my brows, she talked me through the way they shape them first. It was a process I was aware of but nonetheless it was interesting to hear. Using the shape of your eye and key points from the corners to the centre of your pupil, the shape of your eyebrow is defined. For example, the arch should line up with the centre of your pupil, etc. This video explains it better.

Ashleigh was very talkative and down to earth, which helped calm my nerves a bit (I often get nervous in new situations and this was no different) and chatted with me through the service. She talked me through each step as she did it, even explaining why she was putting oil on my skin after and what the certain creams were for.

She tinted my brows first and let me have a look to ensure the colour was okay. As she was the expert I just went along with what she recommended, but they do give you plenty of opportunity to have your say and control. As I am super fair, she used the lightest shade they do and talked about some of their new products in their new fair range.

The tint wasn’t on for long, I’d say maybe three or four minutes, before she cleaned it and prepared it for the waxing. A small patch test was done on the palm of my hand to test the temperature of the wax before it was put on my face, again giving me the opportunity to have control and change anything is necessary.

The whole process of waxing and tinting took about 20 minutes, and afterwards she tested a couple of the brow products on me and recommended certain techniques to make the most out of the shape.

SOME NOTES

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Final Brow w/o Makeup On. Tint Only.

What I was really happy with was the fact that I did not feel pressured to buy any extra products or services. Although brow products were used on me, as well as concealer, highlight and I was even offered to try some mascara, I was not pressured or even asked to buy them.

I have always been nervous of makeup counters because of the pressure to buy things, but as I was already paying for my tint and wax it was obviously not necessary for me to buy more.

The total for both the tint and the wax was £21.50 (list of full prices here). That is a bit expensive compared to local salon charges but I was confident that a cosmetic company would do a good job and did not mind paying that price. For what you’re offered I would say it’s totally worth it!

I’ve been booked in again for 4 weeks time, which is when the tint will start to fade and I should see that it needs doing again. However I have the option to cancel any time or rearrange if necessary.

I am so happy with the results! I was pretty nervous as I am so fair, I was frightened any kind of tint would be too dark. But the final result is subtle and natural, which makes me feel more confident when wearing no makeup. It should also help me when I get ready too. Overall I am super pleased and feel great.

I would totally recommend Benefit Brow Bar services to anyone who is considering it. They are a bit pricey but for first timers like me, I think it’s better not to take the risk and to go with a company you know will deliver.


Beauty is an area that I’ve always been interested in and although this post may seem a little shallow, I think it’s so important to do things that make you feel good.

You can see the full list of Benefit’s beauty services here.

Check out this video from Benefit.


Speak soon,

Rachael

Calling All Freshers: Second Year Experience

Okay, so the title of this ‘series’ doesn’t really go with this topic as when you’re in Freshers (that’s the first year of university) you couldn’t care less about what’s coming next. Still nonetheless I know hearing about other people’s experiences helped me get prepared and generally just calm my nerves about what was to come and I’m hoping it will do the same for you.

IT GETS HARDER

This is obvious but second year is pretty difficult compared to the first. For many courses this is the year when your grades really count and contribute to something. First year, at many universities, counts for 0% (or a similar small amount) of your final grade so there’s no pressure to do anything other than pass. However your grades in second year do count so there is that pressure to do well, to ensure that your happy with the final result.

As well as this, the work becomes more difficult and you will probably find that you have more deadlines- normally all at once!- than last year as well. For me, I also had exams this year which was a totally new experience as my first year was assignments only. It can feel overwhelming at times but remember that everyone is in the same boat and as long as you organise your time (tips will come soon) you will get everything done, I promise!

IT IS EASIER

So the work isn’t easier but everything else is. Because you’ve spent your first year learning all about your new campus, the basics of your course, your flatmates and accommodation- basically everything outside of the work- you go into this year feeling a lot more comfortable and confident about these areas. Which is a wonderful thing and means you can really knuckle down with your work and the more ‘important’* bits as you’ve got to grips with the rest.

*I personally think that all areas of university, the academic side and the rest, are equally important and it really helps shape who you are and all that. But you know what I mean. 

IT’S MORE FUN

As explained above, all your hard work in first year getting used to your surroundings really pays off in second year. Now you’re (hopefully) used to your new city and have a nice group of friends you can just go out and enjoy yourself without worrying about where to go or what to do. By know you’ll have figured out what you like to do best with whoever suits the event the most and that means you can just go for it! You know what clubs hold the best events, where the best shops are and who offers the nicest food and you can just go for it without issue. (As you can tell those are my favourite things to do but everyone is different and I’m sure you’ll find things you love wherever you are).

However, it can be very easy to get stuck into a routine and therefore miss out on all the other fun things happening outside your comfort zones. I know that is something me and my friends struggled with this year. Even though you may feel as though you have learned all there is to know about your new surroundings, take some time to look further because I can guarantee you’ll find something even better you may have just missed last year.

Star

I wish you all the best of luck as you head into whatever year you’re going into. I am so proud of you for getting this far and I hope you have the best time!

If you have any tips for our second years or any tales of your own experience please get in touch and let me know!

Speak soon,

Rachael.