Life Update | 2016 Recap

Happy New Year! It feels strange to finally be back to blogging but I’m so glad that I’ve managed to pick up my laptop and start somewhere.

In all honesty, 2016 hasn’t been the greatest year for me. And no, not because the UK voted to leave the EU or because Donald Trump was elected US President. And no, not because of the mountains of celebrity deaths that happened this year, either, although all of those things were rubbish too! But I’m hoping that by doing a recap on the year will help me to appreciate the good things that did happen this year and move on from the bad. So here goes!

In January, I saw in the New Year full of hope for the year ahead. I had just received news a couple of weeks earlier that I had managed to secure a traineeship at a law firm for when I finally complete my postgraduate diploma. I genuinely couldn’t believe it when I got the phonecall and spent most of January and February awaiting an official letter to offer me the position, which I did finally receive in early February. As I’m still seeing so many of my friends and peers at university struggle to find a traineeship, I can appreciate even more now how lucky I am to have secured this job and I’m now really looking forward to starting this September – I’m actually going to be a lawyer!

Things started to deteriorate slightly more rapidly in late February/March, however, as my dissertation deadline was looming and I found that I had not done nearly as much work as I should have by that point. I ended up in a terrible habit of regularly staying up until 6am and wakening again at 11am to study the whole of the next day until 6am again for weeks and weeks on end until I finally completed all 11,000 words of my dissertation. It was a massive relief to finally hand it in.

My relief was shortlived, though, as I unfortunately received the awful news that my grandad had been diagnosed with leukemia and he ended up spending over a month in hospital so things were turned upside down for a while, although he’s thankfully doing a bit better now.

I then had my exams in May which wasn’t easy given everything else that was going on at home and in my personal life too. I got through it, though, and finally completed my last exam of my undergraduate degree – a massive accomplishment, especially as I had completely fallen out of love with university at that point!

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Edinburgh, Scotland

In June, I spent the week away in Edinburgh with my boyfriend and tried to distract myself from the degree results that I was expecting. We didn’t have a release date for our results, but knew roughly when the exam board would be meeting and so I suspected that I would be getting my results either when I was away or as soon as I returned home. Three days into our stay, I woke up to a text saying that my degree results were in – honestly, I didn’t have much hope. I fully expected to get a 2:2 degree which would still have been an achievement, but wasn’t the result I had been striving for over the past four years. It was such a shock, therefore, when I realised that I had actually managed to get a 2:1 degree in Scots Law (Honours) and I couldn’t help but randomly burst into tears over the next few days as I celebrated. All the stress and worry had actually been worth it and I didn’t dread graduating as much anymore!

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My graduation took place just a short month later and it was a wonderful day spent with my family and my boyfriend – the weather even stayed good for it, which is rare in Scotland! I’ll admit, I was super nervous and trying to organise photographs, tickets and my outfit beforehand just made me stress even more, but I managed to make it across that stage without falling in my heels which is what I was most worried about!

At this time, I was working part-time having managed to secure a temporary position with the charity that I’ve been volunteering with for the past four years. I was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately I found that the more time I spent there, the more fed up I became and soon I couldn’t wait for university to start again. I found out after my graduation that I had secured a place for my postgraduate diploma at the same university I did my undergraduate degree at and that I would be starting it in early September.

At this point, I feel obliged to warn anyone who’s reading that the rest of this post doesn’t have a happy ending – all the good things that happened to me throughout 2016 have now been written about and September is unfortunately where everything really fell apart. I mentioned previously that after I had handed in my dissertation, my personal life started to suffer and things came to a head in September when my relationship with my boyfriend of four years ended. Honestly, I’m not sure how to write about it as it’s still quite fresh, raw and painful but this is also around the time that I completely lost motivation for blogging. I’m not, of course, solely blaming that as university had become quite hard at this point as well – my life just became so hectic and different very quickly and I found it quite hard to deal with so unfortunately blogging just took a complete backseat.

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Thankfully, I have managed (for the most part) to keep up with my work at university and I’m working towards overcoming the issues that I’m dealing with in my personal life. A lot still hurts and it’s been difficult to go from having the rest of my life planned with someone to not knowing what the next year will hold, but I think I’m getting there, one baby step at a time, and I’m learning a lot about myself. It’s hard to stay hopeful for 2017 but I’m going to work hard at focusing on improving myself, spending more time with my friends and family and getting through my diploma so that I can start my job in September and move forward with my life.

And hopefully I won’t fall away from blogging like this again!

Stacey x

 

 

Beauty | Eternity Moment by Calvin Klein

As you may know by now, I’m a sucker for a good perfume and this one by Calvin Klein definitely makes it on to my favourites list.

My first impression of perfume always comes from the shape of the bottle which in this case is simple but elegant, especially given the rounded square lid that it has, giving it a slight Chanel-esque feel. The print on it is also very simple yet bold and is placed on clear glass which allows for the beautiful light pink liquid to be seen in all its glory. I actually think that the clear bottle with no strange bumps or lines lets the feminine colour be shown properly and looks really beautiful which I love.

The scent of the perfume is very light and summery, with its top note being lychee, base note of musk and heart note of Chinese Pink Peony. The scent is fairly strong which is great as you don’t have to apply too much and lasts for a good few hours before beginning to dull a little bit.

As the bottle is quite big, it’s not one that I would carry around with me in my handbag to reapply but given that the bottle feels like it’s made of fairly resistant glass, if I had a bigger handbag or less stuff to carry around, I would feel confident in carrying it around without it breaking or the lid coming off.

It is a perfume that I usually only use during the day due to its light feminine nature, however I think that the musk notes in the scent make it suitable for an evening out too so I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to use it for this kind of occasion.

It’s a perfume that I am incredibly happy to have received as a gift and I would definitely repurchase it once I eventually start running out!

Beauty | Revolution Ultra Eyeshadows Palette

So today I’m blogging about the first ever eyeshadow palette I ever invested in – as you can see from the photographs, it’s been pretty well used!

Up until recently, I had one or two individual eyeshadows that I stuck to and that was that – a nice light brown tone and a darker brown glitter shade for special occasions. How exciting.

So, like I said, I decided that it was time for an eyeshadow palette and, after some quick online searches, I decided to opt for Revolution’s Ultra Eyeshadows palette because of the many different colours and the great value for money. At the time I bought it, it was only around £15 for 32 different shades but it’s since been marked down to only £8 at Superdrug which, let’s face it, is a bargain. And this bargain has since become my go-to eyeshadow palette.

Looking at the various colours included on the palette, it can be seen that there are many different colours – mainly matte, as it is classed as a matte palette. The colours range all the way from white/light pink tones right up to dark purples, greys and blacks, ensuring to incorporate some beautiful autumnal tones as well (which I’m sure will come in very handy soon!). Despite being a matte palette, however, there are also a few glitter eyeshadows too, in shades such as purple, grey, pink and amber so I find myself often blending these with the matte shades given that they’re so versatile.

Having used the palette for nearly a year now, I can definitely say that it has lasted well – each and every shade is still not showing any signs of being nearly finished and the many dents and scratches that you can see are purely down to my own clumsiness. The product lasts all day when applied too which is brilliant for when I’m on a night out or at work – no need to take it with me to reapply! The pigmentation is great too – one application is enough for a subtle yet noticeable look and it only takes one or two further applications for a bolder look. Having said that, many of the darker shades do only need one application to get the full desired effect!

Finally, it’s a big plus for me that the palette comes with a massive mirror that I actually use to apply most of my makeup with – quite frankly, I can’t stand eyeshadow palettes that have plenty of room for a mirror but don’t bother to have one!

I’ve loved this palette from the moment I bought it and I can still see myself using it, even though I am looking to invest in some higher end palettes as soon as payday comes around. It can’t just be me who has sentimental value attached to eyeshadows … right?

Lifestyle | Living with Depression

The title of this post might be slightly misleading, but I couldn’t think of a better title that wasn’t too long or rambling. This isn’t another blog post about how to cope with your own depression and how I’ve overcome it. It’s true that I’ve been depressed but today I’m talking about what happens when your partner becomes depressed.

From my own research, this isn’t a topic that is talked about often. The focus of most blog posts and help forums is on the person who is depressed – and rightly so. But there’s such little help out there for those of us who have or are currently living with someone who’s depressed and I think that’s because we feel too selfish to even consider that we might need help too. The fact of the matter is, though, that living with someone who has depression is hard. Seeing the person that you love and care for change so drastically can send you into a spiral of different emotions and feelings of helplessness. Or at least it did for me.

And don’t get me wrong – you try. Every single day you try to help your partner overcome the dark cloud that’s constantly hanging over them, their own feelings of hopelessness and despair. But there comes a point that you can’t be positive and cheerful anymore. Before you know it, that hopelessness and feeling like there’s just no way out start to take their firm hold on you, refusing to let go for even a second.

Sometimes that can’t be helped. It’s well known that living with someone who has depression can often result in you becoming depressed too. It’s a sad fact. But the reality is that allowing that to happen won’t help your partner and it won’t help you. So I’ve composed a short list of things that you can actively do to look after yourself and your partner during such a difficult time.

  1. Take time out for yourself. Your mental health is of paramount importance, especially if you want to be able to help your partner – otherwise it’s just like the blind leading the blind. Go to a spa, take up a new hobby, go to the gym for a few hours .. anything to get you out the house and have some time to yourself. You need it. You deserve it.
  2. Don’t give up. It seems like the easiest option at times, to just succumb to the darkness and hope that someone else can pull you out like you’ve tried to do with your partner. But they might not. And the best person who can help you is yourself. Just try to remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel – take it from someone who knows.
  3. Seek help. You’re not on your own – and neither is your partner. Look into seeing a therapist or go to your GP to get information on counselling services or support groups. Google is also a fantastic tool for getting telephone numbers or online chats of support organisations, like Samaritans or Breathing Space. If things are getting worse, you might even want to consider medication for either you or your partner. Don’t forget that there are alternative therapies such as St Johns Wort or even Kalms that can often be beneficial for high levels of stress or anxiety.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone leads such a painted life on social media now – no one’s life is that perfect. People will always pick and choose the things that they want to share with the world and those things will almost always be positive. This doesn’t reflect the truth of anyone’s life. So don’t get down because Susie from Finance went on a two week holiday to Florida with her partner and they had a “wonderful” time – they probably argued at least twice and had a terrible flight. Allowing this to get to you will just add fuel to the fire – and you really don’t need that right now.
  5. Talk to your partner. Tell them how you’re feeling too. It’s tempting to deal with everything on your own – their worries and anxieties as well as yours. But you’re not in this alone. Despite how it might feel, your partner is still there and they can still support you. Just be careful not to criticise – depression is no one’s fault.
  6. Talk to someone else. A family member, a friend … anyone you trust. Sometimes outside perspective can really help. And sometimes just offloading your worries and emotions can make you feel a million times better too. You might feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders right now, but you don’t have to deal with this all by yourself. You’re not alone.

To be honest, I could go on for hours here about everything I’ve learned about supporting someone with depression and coping with it. But this blog post is beginning to get quite long and if you’re in this situation right now, six bullet points is more than enough for you to deal with.

Try not to be too overwhelmed. It’s a scary, adult situation and there’s no quick fix – believe me, I’ve tried. Be patience and stay strong. Things will get better.

Stacey x

Beauty | Trésor in Love by Lancome

I love perfume. It’s an addiction and I just can’t get enough of it – there’s no such thing as too many bottles of perfume! So, naturally, whenever my birthday or Christmas comes around, everyone who knows me well enough always gets me at least one bottle of perfume. Right now, I have 11 full-sized bottles and 6 miniature bottles and I feel like I could really do with some more …

Anyway, I recently received a new bottle of perfume as a gift for my birthday and I’ve fallen completely in love with it. It’s definitely a contender for my all-time favourite. And as you will have seen from the title of this blog post, it’s called Trésor in Love by Lancome.

I’ve never really bought anything from Lancome – not that I can remember anyway. To me, it always seemed like the kind of beauty store that my mum would shop in, but more recently I’ve noticed that they’re shifting their focus slightly to appeal to younger consumers, which is great. So I wouldn’t have chosen this perfume for myself, but that’s the best part of getting gifts, right?

The scent of this perfume is perfect for summer. It’s really light, fruity and floral, making it incredibly feminine. Lancome market it as youthful, modern and flirty and I can definitely agree with this – except from the flirty part … purely because I’m always left confused at how a perfume can be “flirty” or “sexy” and I hate how over-sexualised perfume adverts and marketing is. But that’s enough of that rant.

The final aspect of this perfume that I love is the bottle. The design is very simple, yet elegant and it comes with a cute little bow in the shape of a rose around the neck of the bottle. I do have the smallest bottle, at only 30ml but for me, this just makes the bottle cuter.

I’ve already used around one quarter of the bottle and I would definitely buy more of it. But for now, I think I’ll be reserving this for fancy restaurants and special occasions.

Stacey x

Lifestyle | Review | Lanson Rosé 1760 Champagne @ Graduation

Last month, I had the amazing experience of graduating from university with a 2:1 in LLB Law! I was super nervous for it (because there’s so much to worry about!) but had the best day ever – I wish I could do it all over again! I was surrounded by the best people in my life (family, friends and my boyfriend) and we all celebrated some very hard work and many the many breakdowns it’s caused me in the past four years.

Beforehand, my family were definitely more excited than I was. I was worrying and fussing over absolutely everything – my outfit, my makeup, my hair, falling over on stage, tripping up, where to go, what to do … the list was endless. But anyway, my mum was so excited that she decided to buy a bottle of champagne to bring along to celebrate at the reception after the ceremony.

Now, this is a fairly big deal for my family. I’m the eldest sibling and the first person in my immediate family to ever go to university, nevermind graduate from it! We don’t go out for fancy dinners and we definitely don’t buy champagne … but this was a special occasion and my mum wanted to splash out a bit with this wonderful (yet still affordable!) bottle of champagne.

Honestly, I felt a bit guilty when she came home from Tesco with it – that she’d spent money on something that I didn’t see as a massive achievement and, quite honestly, at that time, didn’t even want to do because I was so nervous! But she told me that it had been on offer and was only £30 so that made me feel a bit better.

When I finally graduated, I was relieved. It was nowhere near as stressful as I thought it would be and I definitely couldn’t wait to get some photographs taken with my friends and family before opening the champagne! The reception was held in one of the nicer university buildings that had a gorgeous garden area surrounding it – perfect for taking photographs! So once all that was out of the way, my mum pulled out this bottle of champagne with very classy plastic cups. And it was beautiful.

I didn’t even know you could get rosé champagne – but I would recommend it a million times over! It was so light and fizzy with loads of fruity/berry tones. There was loads in the bottle as well – all five of us had a couple of glasses each which was fabulous. I’m not sure exactly what percentage it was, but I think it was around 12% which, for me, was more than enough! I’m notorious for being an absolute lightweight so by the time I’d had a couple of glasses (and not very much to eat all day), I was feeling amazing and practically flying back to hand in my gown! That might just be me though, who knows.

All in all, I’d fully recommend it to anyone who fancies splashing out a little bit – but on a budget. After all, if you can get a beautiful bottle of rosé champagne for £30, why spend more? And if it’s a special occasion – treat yo’ self!

Stacey x

Beauty | Pink Grapefruit Hand Cleanse Gel and Hand Cream @ The Body Shop

I can’t be the only one who gets enticed by emails promising £10 off when you spend £20, am I? One shop that always manages to pull me in with such an offer is The Body Shop – I could honestly spend a small (or large) fortune in there! So, on my quest to get over the minimum spending amount for a discount, I came across matching hand cream and sanitizer that I thought would be quite nice to have.

I’ve always loved grapefruit – the smell, the taste, everything about it, really! So what better than my hands smelling like it? I decided to order both the hand cleanse gel (or sanitizer) and hand cream in this scent because I loved it so much and didn’t want to mix up my scents!

When they came, I was pleased to see that they both looked rather pretty and were good sized tubes. I obviously wanted to try it straight away and found out straight away that this wasn’t any ordinary hand cream or sanitizer with subtle hints of grapefruit – this was basically a full grapefruit in a tube!

The scent is really strong and so I might have made the wrong decision by ordering the hand cream and sanitizer in that scent, but I still love it anyway … and so does everyone within a 3 mile radius around me who can also smell it!

Stacey x