Who Do You Want To Be?

For some reason recently I’ve been all about self-reflection and just reflecting in general.

Maybe it’s because spring is coming, and that’s all about fresh starts and new beginnings, or maybe it’s because I’m getting (scarily) near the end of my university degree so things are changing so fast for me and I have a lot of things to consider. Either way I think it’s a good thing. I’m thinking a lot about the person I’m becoming and the lessons it took to get me here.

I used to believe that you had to ‘find yourself’. That in order to discover who you really are you needed to go on some sort of quest to find the true being inside of you. Now I know that it’s more of a question of ‘creating’ yourself. Sure there are elements of your personality that are inherently you and that you may not be able to change. But overall, you get to decide who you want to be.

This can be a hard thing to understand at first as many of us are not in the position to just suddenly become this amazing person we all want to be. Some of us may not even believe that we have the capabilities to do such a giant task in the first place.

Annoyingly, learning things about yourself is something that takes time and gets easier as you grow. It’s through every experience, every mistake and every choice you make that things begin to shift in the person you are and, understandably, these things take time.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start making a difference now, wherever you are. Every day the decisions you make, the way you interact with others and the people you have around you help shape the person you are.

‘Creating’ yourself seems like such a big task on the surface, but really it’s these little things we do every day that contribute to it.

INSPIRATION OR COMPARISON? 

It’s really easy to get caught up in other people and think “why can’t I be like that?” But here’s the thing- you can be like that. You can get inspired and work on those features that you admire so much. If you want to be more productive, then work on it. If you want to be kind, then work on it.

The key is to not get so focused on other people so that you forget about yourself. You should always be your number one. It sounds selfish and like something we’ve been told to never do, but it’s so important that you shift that focus onto yourself. Especially if you’re trying to work on who you are in the first place.

I personally want to become more positive. For most of my life I have been a ‘glass half empty’ kind of girl- which, for the record, is totally okay- but after a while it started to weigh down on me. I found that as I got older, being bored and unsatisfied with everything just wasn’t the done thing anymore despite how trendy it was at school. I found myself feeling down and unable to pick myself back up again because of how negative every reaction I had was.

Being positive is something I am still striving for now but I can say that it’s gotten easier. The hardest part is realising the problems you have inside you and recognising that you need to change. That being said, starting the change is pretty difficult too! It takes a lot of patience (something I often lack) and self-reflection. You need to take time out to focus on the way you react to things, to the way you behave and call yourself out whenever you catch yourself doing it in a negative way.

You need to make a commitment to yourself that you’ll take this time to constantly work on building your character. This isn’t a one-time deal that’ll be over with soon. It’s something we need to work on persistently and something that will continue as long as we live.

Because who we are is built on the things we do, expect for change to happen within yourself. You were never meant to be just one thing; a being that can be pigeon-holed easily. We are complicated yet wonderful people who, once we are open to the idea of change and working hard, can only get better as time goes on.

My journey towards being a more positive person is still going strong. I struggle sometimes, as we all do, but the fact that I am trying is enough. I want to be someone who is kind and approachable. Basically I want to be the kind of person I’d be friends with.

I have accepted who I was and who I am now and I’m looking forward to all the changes, all the growth and all the learning that is coming my way.

Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? What kind of person will you be? And just how hard are you going to work to get there?


Materials (Learning From Other People):


 

*affiliate links used

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Twenty-One Things I’ve Learnt In 21 Years

This is something I’ve seen going around a lot and I think it’s lovely to hear people’s insights, see some changes and generally just try to better yourself.

Now I’m a 21 year-old I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past (as well as looking forward to the future!) and even though it might not feel like it sometimes, I’ve done so much and grown loads. Here are some key things I’ve learnt over the years that may be beneficial to you.

1. Practising pays off, even though it can be really tedious and annoying.

For me a key area I learnt this was makeup, and after many years of messing about with the stuff for fun I’m finally getting okay at it. This also applies to other, non-superficial areas too! Just keep showing up and pushing and you’ll get there.

2. No one knows what they’re doing. Literally no one.

Not even that girl who looks like she has it all together. I know this because I pretend to be her and I still haven’t got a clue. I thought that by 21 I’d have everything figured out, but every day is still a learning curve. It’s totally okay, we’ll figure it out one day- maybe.

3. Always be yourself. Do what feels right for you at all times.

Any other action or behaviour will come across awkward, weird and uncomfortable for everyone, especially you! Listen to yourself and try to not focus on what other people might think. You have to live with yourself everyday and that is something you should honour.

4. Don’t be afraid to change it up.

A lot of people go through this stage of altering their appearance, friendships and values when they’re a young teen but I think it’s something that we should constantly do. Experiment with different versions of yourself and try new things to figure out what you like. It’s how you often find that you have always been exactly how you were meant to be.

5. Being girly isn’t a weakness.

Feminism! This one took me far to long to grasp. Liking pink, wearing ‘feminine’ fashion, being interested in beauty… The list is endless. None of the things are a bad or should be thought of with guilt. You are never just one thing so why pigeon-hole yourself?

6. It’s better to not have been the popular one at school.

It gives you an opportunity to grow, change and focus on what is really important right now. School may be considered the ‘best years of your life’ by adults, but trust me it’s not. You have so much wonder to come and luckily you haven’t peaked too early!

7. It takes time to find the right contraception.

 You need to educate yourself, try things and listen to your body. The first method you try might not be your last.

8. There are no deadlines on milestones.

You’re going through life at your own pace so it’s pointless to compare what you’re doing with other people’s experiences. (See: sex, first kisses, getting drunk, education, getting married, etc.)

9. Creating a safe place for yourself is the best act of self care. 

Whether that place is outside or in your house, take time to figure out where you feel the safest and make that space exactly how you want it. This will be your sanctuary for the days when things seem to be a much and a place for you to chill out whenever necessary.

10. Just because your life and/or choices look different to other people doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

You know yourself best, so just do what’s right for you even if it’s difficult or doesn’t match up to others. You should be your number one and this takes time to understand and accept. I promise you- you’re doing fine.

11. Be grateful for your parents/guardians/friends. They do so much for you.

This can be hard to see sometimes but be grateful for those around you who care because one day they may not be around. Gratitude is a wonderful thing to practice and can change your outlook and the way you handle so many different situations.

12. Time doesn’t have to be an important factor in friendships.

You don’t have to stay friends with someone just because you always have been and alternatively you can become brilliant friends with someone you’ve just met. Time isn’t really an important factor, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Sometime you just need to go with your gut and heart to find the right people.

13. Try to save some of your money for a rainy day. Having something behind you can make the world of difference. 

Try to budget and keep bits of money back in case you ever need it. If not, it’ll come in handy for that trip you want to do or that bag you’ve wanted for ages. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

14. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Whether you’re feeling bad right now, or you’re annoyed at past you, we need these times to grow and get to a better place. Everything is valid.

15. Worrying can destroy everything you care about. 

Try to switch off and get out of your head a bit because worrying and overthinking will ruin your relationships, friendships and experiences. Take a walk, open up to someone close or write it down. You need to find a way to get these things out of your head so you can be more open to the important, and present, things.

16. The internet doesn’t need to know everything you’re up to.

You don’t have to post it to prove that it happened and it doesn’t have to be an instant thing either. Don’t let sharing stuff get in the way of your experiences. It’s brilliant to share and show off what you’ve been up to, where you’ve been and who you’ve seen but remember to enjoy the moment a bit first.

17. Metal actually does explode in the microwave.

I found this out the hard way. It can also catch fire too so be careful and stay aware!

18. Learn how to be on your own.

It might become the best lesson you’ll ever learn. You need to rely on yourself totally and be your own best friend because at the end of the day, you are the only guarantee in life.

19. A good bra will change your life.

It’ll make you look and feel amazing, trust me. It might even be worth spending that little bit more money in order to feel this way. Comfort and confidence are the key to any fashion experience.

20. You can trust places like you trust people.

It can be an instant feeling when you get there; you’re definitely going to like it here. I’ve experienced this only a handful of times in my life but it’s often a great factor when making major decisions (see: choosing a university, moving away, work)

21. The loudest people often don’t have anything to shout about.

Whether they’re bragging about sex, drinking, their love life or success you never get to see what actually goes on behind closed doors so take everything with a pinch of salt. Try not to get too caught up in what other people are doing, because they’re not you and everyone experiences things differently.


Happy Birthday Me!

I’m expecting this year to be full of growth, change, joy and fear and I am so buzzing for it. Although things may get tough I’m so proud of myself for everything I’ve done to get here and I love that I’m only going to continue to learn more.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I’m so grateful for you being here. Let’s hope this blog continues for many more birthdays!


Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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

Introversion: Learning & Accepting

Realising I was an introvert was a journey that took longer than I could have ever imagined. And even though I’m finally getting towards the end, I still struggle to accept it sometimes.

Being the centre of attention is not really my cup of tea, if I’m honest, and it never has been. Of course, should my time to shine for a small while arise, I’ll of course make the most of it! But generally I prefer the days when people don’t notice what I’m doing; when only a handful of people listen to what I’m saying. As someone who gets embarrassed- note embarrassed here connotes going red, stammering, sweating and just a general sense of ill comfort- very easily I don’t like to have attention because in my experience one (embarrassment or attention) cannot be present without the other.

At school I was pretty bookish and quiet (labelled a teacher’s pet until the day I left sixth form and that sentiment is still with me now as I finish my final year of university) but I was never an exceptionally quiet kid and I think that’s why it took me so long to discover where my energy goes. My introversion is something that has only really come to a head whilst being at university. It’s this strange time in my life where socialising has been considered a priority. As someone with a history of only having a handful of friends who were pretty low maintenance, as we could survive on seeing each other at school and didn’t need much more, getting to grips with these new expectations has been tricky. It’s something I’m only starting to get to grips with now.

Introvert:  describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts sometimes avoid large groups of people, feeling more energised by time alone.

Extrovert: describes a person who is energised by being around other people

Spending time with people is something that takes away my energy and leaves me feeling very tired afterwards. And by spending time with people I mean everything from having a class with people, actual social occasions like parties or going for coffee to even mindlessly watching TV with my flatmates. I’ve found that in recent years my energy levels when around people seem to be getting lower- or maybe that’s just because I’m spending more time with others.

Either way, university is often an exhausting experience for me and while I love being around my friends and flatmates generally, it’s important that I have time to recharge.

BEING RUDE

As I’ve grown more aware of how much being alone can benefit my mental health and generally make me a better person to be around, I’ve also grown aware of the issues it causes to those around me. I constantly say no to social events because I need that time to recharge (this is something I aim to work on as it’s not really the best thing. But more on that later); I often hole myself up in my room while at university in order to be by myself and I find that if I don’t have the time to recharge I’m just a horrible person to be around. I’m cranky, snappy and just not interested in what’s happening and that’s just as bad as not being physically present.

But as rude as it may be, I’ve eventually learnt the value of looking after myself first. Because if I don’t take care of myself, there is no way I am going to be present around other people. So although it may be bad for the short term if someone like me disappears for a bit, just have faith that when we return we’ll be better than ever.


Materials (Or How I Recharge):


Speak soon,

Rachael.

*affiliate link used

My New Year’s Resolutions

Can you believe it’s 2017, man? It’s absolutely crazy but let’s try not to get too upset about how fast everything is going. Although I’m not a fan of New Years or the month of January as a whole, I’m trying to be positive and focus on the fact it’s a fresh start.

Here are some of the things I want to achieve this year. Let’s say they’re more ‘goals’ then resolutions:

  • Travel More

I travelled more in 2016 than I think I have in my entire life. And not all of it was 2 week holidays or even far away from my hometown, but I loved every experience. It made me realise how good getting away from where you live can be, even if it’s just for a day. In 2017 I want to travel more especially to places in the UK (I don’t think I could afford many abraod trips anyway!). It’s going to require some saving, but I think I’d rather spend money on some experiences rather than more and more makeup palettes. I think, ha!

  • Be More Spontaneous

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with travel more, but I think it’s going to be harder. I’m a born worrier and doing things without less than a weeks’ notice makes me very stressed. But there were a handful of stand-out moments in 2016 where I just went for it and it was the best decision I could have made. I don’t think I’ll ever be the kind of person who doens’t plan and could just jump on a plane, or whatever. But I think I need to learn that not everything needs to be planned to the minute detail.

  • Blogging Focus

I am so passionate about and generally in love with this blog. It’s my little space where I get to do what I love whenever I want and it’s been such a healthy and helpful thing for me to do. I want to keep going with this blog in 2017 and work on it even more. I finish university this year (*screams*) and things are generally going to be changing a lot for me and I’d love to share it all on this platform. I know it’s basically nothing in the grand scheme of the internet but it’s mine and I’m so happy to be creating.

  • Buy Less, Use More

I spend an awful lot of money on clothes and makeup. Those are my two main areas when spending and since going to university I’ve gotten into the terrible habit of emotional shopping. In 2017 I want to try to spend less on crap, basically. I have more than enough bits to keep me going. Besides, towards the end of 2016 I was trying to use up the makeup I had before I purchased anymore and I really enjoyed doing that. I want to try to stop buying things in bulk and maybe save up for better quality pieces when and if I need them.

  • Calm Down

As I mentioned, I’m a stresser. I get really nervous and worried and often make myself ill through stressing about nothing. Although 2017 is a terrifying and busy year for me I really want to try to work on calming myself down. I can’t seem to enjoy anything because I’m so worried about what might happen or what’s going to happen. It’s really annoying and I want to work on it. I’ll always be a worrier, it’s just who I am, but there’s no need for it to get in the way of everything I try to do.

  • See More Live Shows

I love going to concerts and the theatre so much, but unfortunately due to the cost and time I can’t go that often. However in 2017 I do want to make an active effort to go see more live concerts and live shows because the experience is always phenomenal. Regardless of what I see, whether that’s a show or a gig, I always walk away with amazing memories. It can seriously change your outlook and I think it’s healthy to experience things like this live now and again.

  • Self-Loving

This is something I promise myself every year but I really want to work on my self-love and confidence. I’m going to be 21 this year and it seems silly that I’m still insecure and not 100% my own best friend yet. I’m so passionate about self-love and I want everyone to love who they are, so why not include myself in that too?

I wish you all the absolute happiest of new years and I know 2017 is going to bring good things to us all. I am so grateful for those of you who are still reading this blog. You mean the world.

Speak soon,

Rachael

 

Five Tips For Becoming More Body Positive

Body image is a topic that takes up a lot of my time. Not only, like every other person on the planet, is it something I have struggled with since my preteen days but it is also a something that interests me greatly as a subject. I understand how difficult it can be when you’re struggling with your body image. Whether it’s your weight, your skin, your this, your that- everyone is struggling with something and it’s not cool.

hanging-quote

You have a right to feel absolutely fantastic about yourself and I think you should feel amazing for being and looking like you. So, today I’m offering some simple but effective tips to help you on your self-love journey.

  • Look At Yourself

Don’t avoid your reflection and instead take a proper look at yourself. You don’t need to say or think anything regarding your body- the main thing is to just look and familiarise yourself with the wonderful, unique situation you have going on. Getting a grasp on what you actually look like, rather than the hideous caricature you think of in your head, is so healthy and will get easier with time.

  • Get (Semi) Naked

Similarly , spending private time naked (or semi-naked) can help you become accustomed to your body. Of course, getting naked isn’t something we can always do. I have recently been spending time at home roaming around in crop tops and shorts, which is fairly revealing. Just by doing this every so often, I have found myself enjoying seeing my own body and becoming increasingly more comfortable with it as the days go on.

  • Wear What You Want

This is such a simple statement but can be a difficult task. I want you to know that regardless of your size or shape, you can literally wear whatever style of clothes you want. If you really like the look of a trend or style, just try it. We all know that this whole ‘dress for you shape’ business is bollocks anyway so go on, I dare you just try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to wear it again. Be brave, I dare you.

  • Use Social

Social media can be a dangerous place if you’re body-conscious, with perfected images being thrust at us from every angle. But the wonderful thing about it is everyone (well, everyone with a smartphone) can be seen. Although diversity still isn’t there in mainstream media, online so many different people are showing themselves and representing what they have. It can be a great place to recognise that everyone is unique and everyone is wonderful for that reason.

  • Be Inspired, Not Discouraged

Comparing yourself to other people is such a damaging habit and is certainly a hard one to break. But instead of comparing yourself to everyone you see, try to turn that into inspiration. You’re always going to see what other people have and what other people are going, but instead of being negative about it use that energy to be inspired and bring it back to you. You are your number one at this point, so treat yourself like it!

I hope you found this post useful or at the least an interesting read and I wish you all the best of luck on your body positive journeys!

Speak soon,

Rachael.