Thoughts on Sunday: In the things you want to do a little fear is sometimes a good sign

Sunday, 26 October 2014
Source: Victoria Nevland

As someone who suffers from anxiety of varying levels, I’ve always seen as fear being a nuisance, something to be avoided at all cost. Over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of stepping away from any and all situations that make me feel afraid. The minute I felt the tell-tale quickening of the heart, the way the room suddenly gets a lot warmer and that sweaty uncomfortable feeling, I told myself that whatever I was doing clearly wasn’t for me. 

Though this can’t be said for all situations, there are some things for which I am beginning to realise that when I am afraid of the things that I really want to do, it’s actually a good sign. It’s not a sign that I need to turn and run as far away as I can. It’s a sign that it’s something that I actually want, and the fear is of it not happening – or if it happening and not knowing what to do with it

  • I want to talk to people and get to know them but I’m afraid that the interest and desire to converse won’t be mutual and I’ll just bother them. So I’ve told myself I’m afraid of talking to people, and I’m just not a people person, when it could very well be the opposite.
  • I want to write but I don’t because I’m afraid that all that I write will be not worth the paper it’s written. And once it’s written, what if people think I’m a mockery to the name of writing. It turns out then that my fear is that my writing will be magically great without regular practise and that I’ll never get the hang of it; and that once I do not everyone will see it the way I do.
  • I want to travel but I’m afraid that when I get to these countries I won’t be able to travel “the right way”: I won’t know all the places to go, the things to see, and my trip will look nothing like the trips that inspire my wanderlust. It turns out that in the end I’m trying to have someone else’s trip despite knowing somewhere that our experiences are unique, and everyone’s trips are different because we are all different and see the world differently. 

All these fears aren’t really fears, they just feel like that because I’m so worried about not getting what I want or getting it and having no idea what to do. The only way to get rid of these fears, unfortunately, is just squaring your shoulders and going straight in the direction of what you want. 

I’ve recently learnt that there is no greater satisfaction that conquering one of these fears: you accomplish what you want and feel the exhilarating high of having fought a personal demon. (The second greatest satisfaction is a complete to-do list. It’s only happened once so far but I went to bed that bit happier, quite proud of myself!). 

Do you have something that you’ve always wanted to do but don’t because you’re afraid? Or maybe a fear that you’ve conquered?

The Book Edit #1

Friday, 24 October 2014

Another day, another post that I hope to make a regular feature on my blog! When I was younger I was an avid reader but then something happened when I started university and all of a sudden reading for fun went out of the window. However I've recently started reading with fervour again, and want to share with you what I've finished reading, what I'm reading and what's on my reading wishlist. H


The Romantic Movement : Sex, Shopping and The Novel by Alain de Botton

In the Romantic Movement, you meet Alice. Alice meets Eric. They date for a long time. And then, for reasons they end. Alain de Botton uses their relationship to expose theories on the nature of love with chapter titles such as ‘In love with love’ or ‘Diving, Rousseau and Thinking Too Much’ that merge philosophy, psychology and fiction to create, what I think, is a truly fascinating thought-provoking read. I can’t find fault with de Botton’s writing style – in fact he’s fast become my favourite contemporary philosopher because of his way of sharing his thoughts without making it seem stuffy, academic and pretentious. I highly recommend this book if you’re a hopeless romantic like me and would like to see some of the questions you’ve always asked yourself about your relationships answered in an interesting, entertaining way. 

I don’t often find books I would re-read, but I’ve read this three times now and I daresay I will again. 

Rating: 5/5

Currently Reading

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If you’ve not heard about this book which has recently been adapted into a film starring Ben Affleck, then we are chilling in two very different corners of the world. Like ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ by John Green, the hype surrounding it made me want to pick up a copy just to see what the fuss was all about. But unlike TFIOS, I actually find myself enjoying this story, and I just really, really need to find out where Amy is. Go pick up this book – now! 

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She “Learned” by Lena Dunham

Err…I’m not sure why I picked up this book. I’ve not even decided whether I like Lena Dunham or not and this book is only marginally helping because I think I like it when I really wanted to hate it, so naturally I'm angry at it for defying my expectations of crap-ness. I’ve wanted to write a memoir since I was fourteen and had done nothing of importance at all, so I applaud that she’s written one (we should al write memoirs). And it’s not terrible. But it’s terribly Lena. So if you can’t stand Girls, don’t read this. I cringe at the show, and I physically cringed at parts this book, but I’m apparently a masochist. 

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Am I the only one who always has a book for when I’m on the toilet? This is my current bog-book. Mainly because I want to read it – I’m a fan of Criminal Minds and Capote’s journalistic style, analysing everything about the family, the criminals and the repercussion of their murders in a sleepy Kansas Town in 1959 gives me that in book form – but it’s not one of those books that calls at me to rush it. So far, so good, though it did take me awhile to get into it.

Want To Read

Dear John by Nicolas Sparks

I never read The Notebook and I’ve only just finished watching it after years of telling myself I would. I’m not sure why I feel that I’ll like Dear John any better, but I like letters and love stories and I haven’t read or watched something soppy in awhile. This needs to be remedied. 

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

It’s a classic, it’s referenced in The Romantic Movement and it’s probably one of those books you should read before you die to find out why people were so scandalised in 1857 when it came out. Needless to say, I'm intrigued. 

Blog Name Change

Thursday, 23 October 2014
In the spirit of doing new things that feel like me, I've also changed up my blog url! 

I've gone from
to a much shorter, more personal 

They're both plays on my name and how some people like to pronounce it (even me at times!) and I thought it was quite fitting with a personal brand. I'm definitely thinking ahead here! So I do believe that's the url I'll be sticking with from now and for the foreseeable future.

Now to get it changed it over on bloglovin'. 
I'm impressed with their security features actually. 
Go bloglovin'!

An Euhnella First: Outfit of The Day


Navy Blue Short Trench - Pimkie || Grey Oversized Cardigan - Forever 21 (similar) || Black Treggings - Pimkie || Heeled Chelsea-style Ankle Boots - H&M || Nails - Maybelline New York Color Show 352 Downtown Red

One of the first ever things that attracted me to blogging were outfit posts. These were the days when I was devouring magazines like they were going out of business, and in their glossy pages the likes of Susie Bubble and Tavi Gevinson were beginning to be featured with regularity. Curious I checked them out, and thus was my passion for blogging was born. 

Of course I told myself that I had absolutely no sense of style or fashion (as did other not so very encouraging individuals), especially when contrasted with their amazing, fresh, usually quite out-there fashion, I never even considered the possibility of ever posting my outfit of the day on the Internet, despite wanting nothing else but to blog. Though there was one defining moment that put my fashion blogging ambitions on hold (I'm sure I'll share it one of these days), nothing's truly been holding me back except me. 

Seriously, this belief that all successful bloggers are born that way is something I really need to do away with. Even though it's Internet sacrilege to say this, Beyoncé was not born like that, even if she woke up like it.

So it's with great trepidation and great excitement that I start what I hope to make a regular feature on my blog: outfit posts. I'm always curious to see other people's personal styles, and I've also noticed that some my favourite bloggers have really developed a strong personal style over time. It's really interesting having a nosey around the archives of some of the more well-known bloggers! 

I'm looking forward to sharing my style on here more often, as well as figuring out how the hell to pose in front of a wall! It was serious fun though, so expect more of these. And much more love of the heeled Chelsea boots I picked up from H&M the other day after being on the lookout for them for weeks now - I can already tell they're going to be a winter fav!

Do you like outfit posts? Do you ever look at bloggers archives to see how their style has evolved? 

Thoughts on Sunday: It's easy to get lost trying to be a blog you're not.

Sunday, 19 October 2014
So. I haven’t blogged all week. It’s been quite disheartening in the sense that it’s not that I don’t want to blog, it’s just that I haven’t wanted to blog on my blog if that makes sense. I’d come up with all these potential blog posts on top of the week I already had planned, but when it came to sitting down and writing them, I just couldn’t. In my head I told myself it was probably because I hadn’t taken any decent pictures of the products I wanted to talk about or because I was too wrapped up panicking. what I’d write about fro Halloween so the unnecessary pressure I was putting on myself was making me not want to write anything at all. 

In the end, I pinpointed the reason behind the fact that I wasn’t being myself. I was trying too hard to be something I’m not. I realised this yesterday as I was watching Lily Melrose’s vlogs (how did it take me so long to realise she has a vlog channel?!) and came across this vlog: “Advice” for New Bloggers. Lily has some pretty solid advice. I really like her main “advice”: 
“Don’t listen to blog advice.”
It was a point that made me go ‘Ah, that might be where I’m going wrong’ especially since I'll happily admit that I'll be the first to save or bookmark a particularly interesting article with blog advice. I think Lily goes on to explain it so well why listening to blog advice can be detrimental when she says:

“The thing about blogging, is if you think too much about it you get consumed by other people and what other people do. Blogging -or vlogging- is about expressing yourself as a person and being who you want to be but just on online media. You’re the one writing the blog: you can write whatever you want. Everyone’s blog story is different and if you ask any blogger how they became successful, they will probably tell you I don’t know”.

This part of her vlog really struck a chord. I realised I was so wrapped up in finding a niche, having my pictures be perfect straight away or stick to a blog schedule or have super amazing beauty content whatever that is)- regardless of whether I was happy about writing it or not. I was putting pressure on myself yes, but of the terribly unproductive kind: I was trying to be something I’m not. 
I realise now that I am not all the bloggers that I admire or need to necessarily have the same posts that I like. In reality, I’m not even what I think I should be in my head. I’m still figuring out who I am as a person let alone what this is as a blog, so really it’s okay if it’s a little all over the place at first, because in all honesty, that’s a perfect description of me: a little all over the place until I find my feet.

There's a difference between being inspired by the blogs you read and trying to emulate the blogs you read, and it can be surprisingly difficult to distinguish between the two. However, only one of them can help you grow as a person and add to the blog you want to write; the other is pretty much gauranteed to leave you frustrated, because regardless of how well you're doing, you'll never ditch that nagging feeling that you're not being you.

So for the next coming weeks or even months, I’m going to experiment and try different features, content, layouts - you name it -and just have fun with it, figuring out how to do all the things that have to do with blogging through good old trial and error, because she is absolutely right. It is really easy to get lost in the thoughts of being successful, doing things “right” and not looking like the total newbie that you are, and forget why you started blogging in the first place: because you wanted to join on all the fun.

So basically, from now on, I'm going to just be myself. Whatever that means.

Thoughts on Sunday: Stop Saying Tomorow

Sunday, 12 October 2014

If I've already established that I need to stop saying "I'll try" and just do it, the latest bone I have to pick with myself, it's constantly promising myself that things will get done...tomorrow.

  • I'll do the washing up...tomorrow.
  • I'll organise my make up drawer...tomorrow.
  • I'll write up that blogpost...tomorrow.
  • I'll plan that trip I've been thinking about...tomorrow.
  • I'll do everything I've ever wanted...tomorrow.

Pushed to the extreme, constantly saying tomorrow means that you end up doing nothing that isn't assorted with a deadline. If the rubbish disposal service didn't come around every Wednesday, I'm not entirely sure when the bins would go out. If I had to organise my entire academic program myself, I'd probably still be coasting somewhere around the first year of secondary school.

It's procrastination at it's finest, but it translates to procrastinating on life if everything you want to do, you want to do...tomorrow.

I've been having an odd week. I have the house to myself and a lot of free time, and on top of that I've not been well. Instead of revelling in the promise of being able to do absolutely nothing with no one to witness this perpetual laziness, I find myself itching to do something. The comfort zone doesn't feel so comforting any more. But because I'm afraid, because it's something I'm not used to, because of a lot of reasons, I promise that I'll get it done...tomorrow. It's Sunday, and I still haven't done all the things I told myself I'd do on Monday.

And given that I've been doing this for a very long time, you can imagine the things that I've avoided doing by taking this approach to life. And unfortunately, many of the things that I want to do require daily effort in order to have any effect. I have come to realise that telling yourself that you're going to do something is a surefire way not to get it done.

So I need to stop promising myself that I'll do it tomorrow. I need to stop saying it full stop until I've broken out of the habit and when I say tomorrow, I can trust myself to mean tomorrow.

So I'm going to set myself a challenge. They say it takes around thirty days to make or break a habit, so for the next 30 days, I'm going to wake up every morning and write somewhere, anywhere What I'm Going To Do Today and just do that. I have never been a solid to-do list girl but I have had a week here and there where I've managed keep one going, and those have been some super satisfying week productivity-wise. 

Tomorrow can wait because I have wasted enough Todays thinking about a day that I'm not even guaranteed. It's time to get things done. Not tomorrow. Today.

5 Bad Beauty Habits I Need To Break Right Now

Thursday, 9 October 2014
#1 Peeling my nails

This is a stress thing for me, and instead of biting my nails, I end up peeling them. On a good day, I'll just peel my nail varnish, but on a bad day, I'll peel off the top layers my nails leaving them brittle and looking not so pretty either.

#2 Not drinking enough water

This is a no-brainer. Water has so many benefits, including reducing fatigue, improving skin and hair, and boosting the immune system which is really important during the approaching colder months and yet I find it so difficult to get anywhere near the recommended daily intake.

#3 Impulse buying skincare products

This isn't the end of the world, but this is the end of my purse strings, and even though half the time, my impulse buys work out, the rest of the time, my face ends up breaking out because I didn't take the time to research and discover that a large majority of the people who purchased the products also ended up breaking out. How can I just ignore an entire community that's there to help me make wise purchases?

#4 Not cleaning my make up brushes

It's recommended that you clean your make up brushes once a month. I've started scheduling this monthly chore into my calendar because otherwise I don't do it. Even now with make up brush cleaning day approaching, I can feel the reluctance setting in. It's so much effort. I seem to forget the effort of dealing with a break out that could just be avoided if I cleaned my brushes when I'm supposed to. 

#5 Not cleaning my glasses

I'm a glasses wearer. Concealer loves nothing more than to transfer, and more generally every day grime builds up on my glasses around the bridge of my nose, and despite being very much aware of this this, just like my brushes, it's lucky if I take the time once a month the wipe them down with a wet cloth and antibacterial face wash to make sure they're completely clean. Even if I don't do this every day, I should at least do it once a week.

Do you have similar bad beauty habits? What's the one bad beauty habit you have that you'd really like to break right now?

What I Picked Up In Pomelo #1

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Pomelo is a shop that opened in Namur earlier this year. It sells a bit of everything, and you can find home decoration, beauty, books, stationary - you name it! I think there's even a lingerie section. It's right in front of the train station, so it's the perfect place to wander around when you're waiting for the train to see what they currently have in stock. That's why I decided to make it somewhat of a feature, because this is most definitely not the last time I pick up a few things.

I was drawn to the aesthetics of these candles, and picked the scents White Tea and Lemongrass. I think they're from this collection. They smell amazing when you smell the candle, the White Tea a soft scent, and the Lemongrass, tangy citrus smell, almost sherbet-like smell, but when you burn them - not so much. My mum thought there was a gas leak the first time I burnt the Lemongrass and I couldn't sleep for hours after burning the White Tea. Oh well, with the news constantly mentioning the possibility of an imminent blackout in Belgium, they'll probably come in handy. I've learnt my lesson about candles. You get what you pay for (they were about €4 each, but the glass they come in more than makes up for the disappointing scents ). 

I've already mentioned this Balmi Cube Lip Balm in my September favourites - I was just so excited about it! They also do it in Raspberry which I am keen to get my hands on as I've been really enjoying its Strawberry counterpart. I was also drawn by this new brand I've been seeing appearing in shops recently: Evoluderm. Evoluderm is a French cosmetics brand that has an entire range of beauty products including skincare, haircare and essential oils.

I picked up the Rose Water Hydrating Toner as I've used a rose toner before and it did wonders for my skin. I've not yet tried it out as I'm reluctant to switch from my Yves Rocher Micellar Water, but it's something that's good to have around. I also picked up their Huile de Beauté in Carrot. My Mum has used carrot oil in the past, so I already knew it's excellent for those pesky dry patches on knees and elbows. I also want to use it on my hair after a straightening treatment mishap left me with seriously damaged hair, just to keep the moisture in the split ends. Oils are all the rage right now, and I think it's good to have a different selection for when you need to deal with different issues. 

Have you heard of Evoluderm? Do you have a shop that you just pop in and have to drag yourself out in order not to leave without buying anything?

Thoughts On Sunday: The Learning Curve Doubt Syndrome

Sunday, 5 October 2014

I have this terrible habit of doubting what I'm doing when I've just started doing it. For example, this past week, I've been constantly doubting my ability to grow and maintain this blog. I question what my overall aims are, if I'm a beauty blog or a lifestyle blog, what the point of it all is, if I'm not just adding to the thousands of blogs already out there. I forget that I'm doing this because I like writing, because I enjoy trying out new products and discovering new brands. I forget that I'm just starting out, that's it's normal not to know pretty much anything and that in due time I'll figure it out bit by bit and find my feet. 
I seem to think that despite the fact that I only started blogging a month ago, I should have it all figured out. And so the doubts of my ability to succeed start creeping in.

I like to call this the Learning Curve Doubt Syndrome, an emotional condition closely linked perfectionism and a lack of patience, which can be defined as wanting to be perfect, and wanting to be perfect right now and consequently doubting yourself when you realise you're not. If we imagine for a moment that perfection actually exists, most people will strive to attain it with the semi-realistic belief that it will take time and hard work to get there, and that the learning curve is a necessary step on the road to their idea of Perfect. Those us of us suffering from Learning Curve Doubt Syndrome? Well, we'll start questioning our ability to ever attain our goal within the first couple of weeks - if we get that far.

Why do we do this? Because the learning curve is hard. That's a fact. There are those who naturally enjoy hard work and get satisfaction of working through a hard puzzle, so they have no problem with the learning curve. It's just another exciting challenge. Then there are those of us who are not so naturally inclined to deal with the hard work that comes with accepting that you can't possibly be good at something from the outset. That you are going to make mistakes, that you are going to go through setbacks as you work it through and that it's going to take time, the length of which depends on individual skill and the steep of the learning curve ahead. 

So when we're confronted with this reality, we immediately begin to doubt ourselves. The end picture seems unattainable and we fixate on that instead of the journey that's ahead, that promises so much if we just give it a chance. With the Learning Curve Doubt, logic goes flying out of the window. I mean, logically, the idea that I can create, grow and maintain a blog that I am almost a hundred percent happy with and that I can run like it's second nature without any hiccups or mistakes within the space of a month is ridiculous.
You've probably heard of the Ten Thousand Hour Rule (or heard the Macklemore song inspired by it), an idea most associated with Malcolm Gladwell and his book 'Outliers: The Story of Success'. The idea is that those who are successful in their field owe their success to the  ten thousand hours they invested into the task. Though this theory has been criticised, the general premise of the idea remains solid: in order to be great at something you have to practise, you have to practise every day, and it has to be at the very least ten thousand hours of practise

And yet the Learning Curve Doubt ignores this rule entirely. I've maybe put in about twenty hours so far, and I expect to be an expert. I want the answers now. I doubt whether I'll ever seem to have it figured out like bloggers who are able to queue posts to cover absences or have captivating features and formulas that I grow to admire and love. I forget that they went through the same wobbly phase of finding their feet. In fact they're probably still trying to find their feet, but the one thing all successful blogs seem to have in common, whatever their content, is perseverance.
Actually, when you think about it, perseverance is the key to any form of success in whatever you want to do. It's not going to be easy, especially not in the beginning when the "Errr, is this right? Is there a right way - I can't remember - how do you even do this? Argh! What am I doing?" sets in, but so long as you enjoy it, you just keep doing it. You push past the Learning Curve Doubt, and instead of giving in and giving up, you keep going until you decide you want to stop. And then you move onto something else. 
Wouldn't it be great if things felt as simple in practise as they sound in theory? Ha.

All I know for sure is that I really enjoy blogging, and for now, that's all that really matters. I'm still not a hundred percent what my content is going to be, how to write regularly, how social media is going to come into the mix and keeping up with everything, but I'm sure I'll figure something out eventually. I just have to ignore the little voice in my head that spews doubt and get on with it. I still have another 9,980 hours to go before I can declare that I'm just no good at blogging.

For all my fellow suffers, bear this in mind when the doubt starts creeping:  
the Learning Curve Doubt Syndrome can be beaten and the way to beat it is perseverance.

September Favourites 2014

Thursday, 2 October 2014

I can't believe it's October already. Luckily we've had quite balmy weather these past couple of days here in Belgium and I'm holding on to the last remnants of summer before the cold weather arrives in full force. I remember once upon a time I would have wholeheartedly agreed with the majority of bloggers who seem to be greeting autumn with lots of love, but I don't know - I'm going to miss being warm and dry!

September has been a month of me focusing on using up the products that I already owned. I'm prone to impulse buys but for the sake of my purse strings and the bathroom storage I want to get into the habit of using up the products I already have and researching what I'm going to buy rather than impulse buying. Though some days it can't be helped. Especially when there's an offer to good to be passed up! 

My favourites this month are also skincare orientated. Transitioning through the season can be really tricky for my skin so I was so happy to find a combination that worked.

I didn't expect much when I picked up the Yves Rocher Purifying Micellar Water 2-in-1. It's aimed at combination to oily skin, and is classed as a 2-in-1 because it has the cleansing effects of micellar water, promising to remove your make up and leave your skin feeling cleaned as well as toning the skin. I'd just run out of toner so was attracted to combining the two. And I haven't been disappointed. It has a gorgeous, fresh smell that's neither too herbal or synthetic, it leaves my skin feeling cleansed and soft all without the tightness that similar products can have. I have noticed a difference in my skin since I've been using it. I'm not entirely sure it lives up to its promises of sebum control (or perhaps I just have a really pesky t-zone) but my skin has looked a lot healthier and brighter. 

Though I think that is because I've been using it in conjunction with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Make Up Remover that I received in the Glamour Summer Beauty Edit in order to fully remove my make up first as I don't think that the Yves Rocher Micellar Water can quite do the job, and though I'm not yet entirely sure of the benefits of double cleansing, using the two products has most definitely made a difference. I like how this works. You apply it to your face with dry hands where it starts breaking down the make up, and then when you add water it turns into this milky texture that you can work into your skin like soap. The instructions say that you can just rinse this off, but I highly recommend the use of some sort of wash cloth to avoid leaving residue and/or ruining your face towel.

With my face well cleansed, my skin has been highly receptive to the Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-oil which has been highly touted as the best affordable face serum, with most serums of the kind going for double the price. I can't really fault this beauty. As someone with oily sensitive skin, I can often find myself stripping my face of moisture which does the opposite to what I want: my skin is not only irritated but overproduces oil. This serum restored the moisture balance in my skin, and I'd wake up with fresh, glowing skin. A little on the oily side, yes, but because this is an overnight serum, I can use a mattifying day cream without worrying that I'm drying out my skin. I'm finding that with my kind of oily skin it's a constant battle to balance out potentially drying products aimed at oily-to-combination skin with more moisturising products for sensitive skin.

I've also been loving the Rituals Magic Touch Organic Cherry & Rice Milk Ultra Rich Whipped Body Cream that came as a free gift in a magazine. This stuff smells a-mazing, and that's just a plus point. I'm often disappointed by body creams that aren't specifically aimed at dry skin, finding that they're nowhere near as moisturising as they claim but it was not so with this. When I use this (and I use it sparingly because I don't want to use it up too quickly) I get compliments on how glowing my skin looks. This contains antioxidants, Vitamin E and Centella Asiatica which helps to strengthen skin, so overall this products smells amazing, moisturises the skin beautifully and has added benefits - what's not to love? I have no idea why I don't check out Rituals more often. It's not the cheapest brands but it's far from being expensive. 

Last but not least, this little gem is something I only picked up a couple of days ago, but I just had to include it in my favourites. It's the Balmi Cube Moisturising Lip Balm in Strawberry. I was intrigued by the similarities between it and the spherical EOS lipbalms, and since my lips were going through a really bad phase how could I resist something that not only has Vitamin E, Shea Butter and Jojoba oil but also contains SPF15? Expecting to be disappointed, this has become an instant favourite. The conical shape makes the application easy, it really is moisturising and I've noticed a significant improvement in my lips just from using this a couple of days. Plus it's really cute and smells tasty. Am I obsessed with strawberry smelling products? Perhaps.

Have you tried any of these products? What have you been loving in September?