Saturday, 17 October 2015

5 Easy Steps to Improving your Writing Skills

In a world where even the text in text messages is being replaced by emoji's or being usurped completely by Snapchat or Instagram, we're all generally getting a bit more creative with how we communicate. But what about those times you have to write? Whether it's a cover letter, a work newsletter or a blog post, the act of writing and relying on your own words can feel a bit daunting.

This is definitely something I've struggled with in the past but am activiely trying to improve over here in my own little blog-space. As a visual/creative type (art student) turning to a career in numbers ( I emoji-heart Excel), words were always a bit superfluous. If you have to write an essay to explain your work of art or profit forecast, you haven't really done a great job... So how do you go from staring a blank page to writing not only semi-coherently but quickly?

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Logging Off and Getting Out

Lady Dixon Park, Northern Ireland

Since moving home to Northern Ireland from London I've really appreciated the big outdoors on my doorstep....from my comfy sofa with a cup of tea via Instagram and Discover NI. I'm willing to bet we all have an unhealthy ratio between the time we spend "researching" and wander-lusting and the time we spend putting these plans into action. 

There aren't many proven tips I can share on this one, it's pretty much a case of JFDI - stop procrastinating and leave the house! But here are a few things that have helped spur me on to get offline and go:

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Make-up Essentials Haul

I'm not usually a haul person - I've developed a rather bad habit of buying little pieces of make-up on glum / stressful days, the way other people might have an extra shot of espresso or a bar of chocolate to perk themselves up. Yet somehow I ended up with a nail polish box that is too full to close, an empty tube of mascara and a smashed to smithereens blusher that desperately needed replaced. And so I made the rather mature decision to make a note of what I actually needed - my essential go-to make-up kit I could use everyday - with no glitter nail polish in sight. (Thankfully I was sorted for Foundation, as we all know that's a completely separate mission!) I created a Wunderlist  (my new favourite thing) and ticked off the boxes as I filled my little basket!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Good Habits to Lock Down Now

Two well-known blogs have been sharing some wisdom on the "Quarter-Life" crisis this week -  interesting that apparently if you only intend on living to 80, I'm nearly 10 years late for my own crisis. Which doesn't mean I've got it all figured out. In fact as each one of my friends turn 30 (it feels like a game of dominoes) I think about those things I want to achieve before I'm, like, y'know, a proper adult? Then I realise I am an adult and have only recently locked down some basic grown-up skills. So in the spirit of sharing is caring, here are the easy mistakes you can fix now...

I'm not even getting into money management or retirement plans here. These are the things you know you should do, and while you may be super-organised with your day-planner for uni or your new office job, you're still #failing at being a proper adult until you can successfully do these every day - and they're so simple!

#1 // Floss
Yeah sure you do, or you mean to, or you do sometimes... I was the same. Despite those "bleeding" ads, flossing was a chore to me until recently, and I'm not alone -  only 21% of people in surveyed here floss regularly. Get on it for healthy teeth and gums and lovely lovely breath.

#2 // Cleanse
Before bed, always. Even if you're still in uni and your usual bedtime ends in "a.m." rather than "p.m."  - do it do it do it. If you have time for a late night cheese on toast or one more episode of PLL you have time to take your make-up off. And taking off your falsies at the end of a drunken night doesn't count. If you have to, leave the eyeliner on and ruin your Primark pillowcases, but wash your poor wee face. This is much easier when you have a product you like using, get into the habit now and it can even form part of a night-time routine that is proven to help you sleep better.

#3 // Reach Out
You probably feel like you're connected to people all day long, liking other people's latte art on Instagram and cooing over their cute new pet on Snapchat. But just take a moment to consider how connected you really are. Does a Facebook notification spur you on like a good chat over coffee with your mate? You've uploaded a whole album of your summer travels, but would your favourite aunty or granny like to know how you're getting on lately? Don't guilt yourself into it, make it a habit and you'll be doing a good turn for more than yourself!

#4 // Read
Ditto to above, you're probably reading e-mails, textbooks, blogs! and feel a bit burnt-out. Don't forget about reading for fun. I do struggle with writing for this blog sometimes as a quite visual / mathematical person. Reading definitely helps get a different part of your brain into gear whether it's fact or fiction. Aside from the educational benefits. a good book can let you live another life for a few pages, and in a lovely link in to Good Habit #3, may even give you something to talk about.

#5 // Hydrate
If I haven't totally lost you from the lecture, you know this one too, but if you're at all like me, you need to be told more than once. Tea isn't water. Coffee isn't water. Gin with tonic water isn't "water". When you're standing in Boots reading the back of every single moisturiser for whatever miracle ingredient creates dewy skin and realise at 29 you're 8 glasses-a-day times about 3000 days behind target, you'll suddenly have an unquenchable thirst

What good habit do you keep forgetting about - I'd love to know I'm not the only one!


Saturday, 26 September 2015

Transitional Autumn Beauty Trends to try now

So the internet seems pretty excited that it's Pumpkin-Spiced-Latte and blanket-scarf season...! Aside from investing in a New Look duvet scarf and digging out the knitwear, I've been looking for ways to transition a look into Autumn. Lately the sun seems to be taunting me by hiding in the morning, and blazing on my lovely long bus-journey home, making full-on knits and boots look a bit overkill! So the simplest, quickest and most economical way to switch up your look is by concentrating on one area...

Hide the pastels and brights of summer and have a go at these autumn make-up trends for a pretty dramatic change-up:

 Matte eyes, lips and skin. Think soft cashmere matte rather than cakey - keep tones warm, makeup light and lips blotted.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Sunday Wrap-up

In a twist on trying a little more mindfulness in my daily life, I'm trying to be just a little more self-aware about how I spend my free time. When it gets cold and dark there's a real temptation to switch off and cosy up, and while I still see nothing wrong with that(!), it's so easy to look back on a season wasted on Netflix with no actual memories stored up.

So here's a little snippet of what I've been up to this week, and some inspiration on making the most of Autumn days from a couple of my favourite bloggers...

Friday night was Culture Night here in Belfast, where the Cathedral Quarter was closed off to traffic and filled with artists, creatives, magicians, musicians, drinkers and general #CNB15 gawkers. I was quite literally too busy walking on my tiptoes gawping at everything while being swept along by the crowd to take many photos, but got a couple of shots I'm pleased with. Listening to an operatic choir in the back yard of a pub, and the Ulster Jazz Band play Skyfall in St Anne's Catherdral were definite highlights.

Belfast Street Art and City Hall (by me)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

5 Fashion "Don'ts" to Ignore This Autumn

It's that time of year when your Twitterfeed, Bloglovin' feed and Pinterest are being infiltrated by Fashion Week. Admit it, you can't look away from the celeb, catwalk and street-style snaps and wish you could be just a wee bit more adventurous with your wardrobe. But you can't see yourself wearing such fashion-week-fabulousness on a Wednesday morning on the bus. 

If you want chic elegant style, there are plenty of tips and guidelines to follow for a timeless safe look. If you want Fashion, you're going to have to break the rules. Here are 5 ways you can realistically shake up your look for understated street-cred..